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#21 Kristin_Gail

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 04:29 PM

To the original poster:
I, too, have been always unhappy with my handles, and they have always had some of the same issues as you - too thin at the top, too much smushing and working.

I've spent the past few days absolutely immersing myself in handles. Obsessing about it, really. Staring, studying, analyzing photos of handles I love. Watching gobs of videos. Reading so many words of advice.

And practicing. I only pulled maybe 50 handles in the past two days, but the ones near the end, the ones I just attached - they're the best handles I've ever made, in about seven years of trying. They're certainly nowhere near where they need to be - but they're the first I've ever made that don't make me angry!

It really can be done. And I really do think it's not just about practicing. Analyzing pots as I drifted off to sleep, dreaming about that perfect handle, visualizing it before I headed to the workshop ... All of it is working. It's working!

#22 alabama

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:34 PM

Hey,

 

     I found cutting corners just doesn't work for me.  My theory of handles is that if they separate from the cup, they will do so while they're being used.

We were taught at Auburn in Montgomery to wedge a unit of clay, drop it on a table about 45 degrees to elongate it, and then start pulling.  Start at

the bottom and pull a handle long enough to fit the vessel, cut it off, place it on a flat surface, and pull another, etc.  Pull more handles than you need

and pick out the best ones to apply.  Pull the handles first, then trim the vessel, and then attach the handle.  I attach handles by cutting off any excess length

and score horizonal lines (not crosshatch) on the vessel and horizonal lines on the handle, apply alittle slip then attach the two together.  Once the handle is attached, I take a needle tool and work the handle clay into the body of the vessel, then I smooth all around the conections.  When the vessels are  bone dry

I take a dry Scotchbrite pad and wipe any sharp edges.

 

      I know an elderly potter who is a legend  in his own mind who prefers to throw a ring on the wheel cut it into sections and trys to attach this to

his pottery.  (It looks awful) and when we suggest pulled handles he balks at the idea.  He's they type where you shouldn't confuse him with the facts,

because his mind is made up. 

 

     Look at other peoples handles.  I look thru alot of pottery books from 1100 A.D to 1800 A.D. and take mental notes on the handles AND the forms

they're attached to.  You should see that there are many kinds of handles and that vessel forms will dictate what handle does best.

Take care, and good luck...

Alabama



#23 Benzine

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 02:56 PM

 
      I know an elderly potter who is a legend  in his own mind who prefers to throw a ring on the wheel cut it into sections and trys to attach this to
his pottery.  (It looks awful) and when we suggest pulled handles he balks at the idea.  He's they type where you shouldn't confuse him with the facts,
because his mind is made up. 
 
Alabama


I prefer a good pulled handle, but I've definitely seen handle made other ways, that I absolutely love. Extruded handles, not only allow for quicker production, but offer shapes that would be difficult, if not impossible, to do any other way. The thrown ring you mentioned, also offers some unique benefits, like throwing a design into the shape of the handle, that would be time consuming to replicate, by pulling. This method is also great for making handles/ lugs for casseroles, or similar forms.

To me, every handle creation method has its merits.
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#24 Pres

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 09:56 PM

I like the carved handles that John Glick was doing a few years back. I also like using hand made cutters for cutting through a thick well wedged block. However, there is nothing that really beats a nicely pulled and attached handle on most items.


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#25 Babs

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 02:25 AM

 

I've never seen a good handle that wasn't attached then pulled again. Steven Hill blends his handles in nicely. Just off the top of my head, some of the nicest handles I can think of are Matt Long's. Then again, like everything else in pottery, the beauty of a handle is subjective. That guy that you say really inspires you makes really ugly handles imho.

Jim


Yes I agree with you that his handles are ugly but I cannot fault him on his techniques.

Looks like I have managed to miss educating myself properly in how to attach and pull a handle. When taught by my college tutor I was not told to pull it once attached to the mug.
I am not blending with any aesthetic purpose, just thought that was needed to securely attach the handle.


Here is a picture of my first attempts at handles, not great quality but it gives the general idea.
(I cannot seem to attach images angry.gifHere is a link, https://fbcdn-sphoto...832532631_n.jpg )

EDIT : two more pictures http://i48.tinypic.com/2s97ouv.jpg http://i46.tinypic.com/2ziosnr.jpg

 

Hit the More reply options lower fight near the POST button

I think that ,yes practice makes it happen, but also observing lots of vessels and noting where the handles are attached and how the negative space that the handles enclose relates to the bodies of the pots. Quiet handles, or handles that make a statement, heavy pot, light pot.pouring or to be sipped from. Strength required to lift the vessel, and pour from it.

IMO all of these and more would affect the choice of handle you make, and how you make it.



#26 Ann5

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 10:48 AM

There is a brand new Simon Leach video on utube where he does a great demo on attaching a handle.  Might help to watch it. Just go to Utube, search for Simon Leach, and look at the one just posted.  He also has many, many others on all sorts of things.



#27 grype

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Posted 04 May 2014 - 10:49 PM

Thanks for all the great advice. I threw 10 something mugs yesterday. Ended up keeping one after the trimming/handle process. Had a few fly off the wheel, woops. Had several others that the handle popped off, and had a few that the handle was just ugly. Promptly trashed them all. Gonna start again tomorrow. About my 5th week in pottery and 2nd week owning my own wheel. I don't have a kiln yet, so I just build things then trash over and over and over.

 

The advice here is great, and I am going to make like 10 Octomugs tomorrow.



#28 Tom

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 02:56 AM

weather you pull, roll, extrude, throw, or grab a glob of clay and slap it on as a handle make it yours.  many people say that pulling handles is the best way to make  one and if you like pulling handles go for it.  if not don't.  the handle must be something that speaks to you, if it looks good and feels good to you run with it.  make lots of them. attach them to a lot of pots test them through the firing process. do what make you happy you did it.   its your art.  don't let any one tell you how it should look.  there are as many types and way to make handles as there are people doing it.  watch your connections. and practice you style a lot.   practice makes permanent..do your best,  have fun and let us see what you come up with.

 

Tom



#29 Benzine

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 06:54 AM

Great advice Tom!
"Anything worth believing, is worth questioning"

#30 clay lover

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 07:23 AM

Grype, your lack of a kiln at this stage will actually serve you well in your development as a potter.  The making and trashing and making again is not done enough by many of those first throwing pots.  You will learn that it's just dirt and no one pots is 'precious'.



#31 Pres

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 07:45 AM

Yes, one of the hardest lessons to teach is when to throw that precious item out. I guess part of the lesson is that there is nothing so precious that it can't be recycled. When demonstrating or working in the HS, occasionally I would get a weird comment from one of the kids "what would you do if I wrecked that"; I would tell them that after I had crucified them I would just make another. :P


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/


#32 JBaymore

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 08:54 AM

And I really do think it's not just about practicing. Analyzing pots as I drifted off to sleep, dreaming about that perfect handle, visualizing it before I headed to the workshop ... All of it is working. It's working!

 

There is the saying and myth that everyone seems to 'know'; "Practice makes perfect".

 

Unfortunately it is not a true statement as it sits.

 

Repetitively practicing something like a motor skill activity which is being done poorly simply ingrains the poor performance and makes it harder to change the movements later. INFORMED and CONSIDERED practice moves your performance toward what might be called "perfect". This means being 'in the moment' and analyzing what you are doing with each subsequent repetition to improve on that last performance. If you can't figure out how to change things for more successful outcomes, that is where the help of a teacher comes in.

 

Mindless practice (repetition) really doesn't help when you are trying to develop a skill. (What is that definition of insanity........ doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.)

 

best,

 

..................john


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Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#33 grype

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 09:45 PM

threw a few(14) octomugs the other day, was a good help, need to throw about 154 more before I think I have a grasp on good looking handles. I watch a few videos of different peoples methods lots of crazy handle methods out there besides just pulling.



#34 JBaymore

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 09:31 AM

Grype, your lack of a kiln at this stage will actually serve you well in your development as a potter.  The making and trashing and making again is not done enough by many of those first throwing pots.  You will learn that it's just dirt and no one pots is 'precious'.

 

Amen!

 

best,

 

...................john


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#35 grype

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Posted 11 May 2014 - 05:35 PM

Grype, your lack of a kiln at this stage will actually serve you well in your development as a potter.  The making and trashing and making again is not done enough by many of those first throwing pots.  You will learn that it's just dirt and no one pots is 'precious'.

 

 

Yea I already look at most of my work as, well I'm just learning. When I chip a pot or something goes wrong when I am throwing I dont even worry about trying to fix it. I just go BLAMP and start over.



#36 jammy43

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 07:51 AM

A trick we use, which also adds strength, is to add a small coil at the join point where the handle meets the mug.  It really enforces the join but also allows you the extra clay to give a nice smooth transition.






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