Jump to content


Member Since 04 Jun 2010
Offline Last Active Dec 04 2015 11:45 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Input On These Cups/handles

19 November 2014 - 12:21 PM

As with every aspect of clay, we all have our preferences and favored methods for achieving them.  I would advise making as sure as possible that your handles are attached well, no matter what their shape. 


I seldom make two handles alike on mugs.  Every human's hands are different sizes and shapes and people hold their cups and mugs differently from each other.  The holding is often dictated by the handle, but I've found that it's a fun conversation, especially at craft shows, to ask people what they like in a handle.  Are you a two-finger holder, a three-finger holder, do you put your fingers through the handle, but hold the mug?  Do you put your thumb on the top of the handle or do you grip the entire handle in your fist?  I put thumb rests (buttons of clay) on the tops of some and customers comment that they like them.  When I attach the buttons, I usually make an thumb-shaped indention in them or maybe run the top edge out a little bit as a kind of stop point for the end of the thumb.  I just got one out of the kiln yesterday that I'll be taking to a show this weekend that is very whimsical.  I put a thumb on top of the handle and I call it "Two Thumbs Up!"  When I hold the mug, it looks as though there are two thumbs on it. The nail on the mug is forward of my own.  I did that just as a little attention-getter and will place it around about the rest of the mugs to see if it gets any comments.  It's a good thing I'm not a "set" person at this stage of my life, because I've never been able to make exact duplicates well and in my part of the world, customers at shows either get a single mug.  They enjoy trying out all the different handle shapes and configurations and deciding which one feels the best. 


Pulling handles is very professional and a great way to learn to make duplicates.  If that's priority with you, then disregard all my ramblings.  Watch a YouTube video by Simon Leach on pulling handles.  If personalization pleases you, roll a sort of fat coil of clay and give it a little squeeze in the middle.  Curve it to suit the shape of the mug it will go on and cut it with enough space to allow for shrinkage.  I think you'll be surprised at how comfortable it is to use when fingers naturally lay into those places.


I was looking at a pottery display in a craft mall once when a very tall, very large man stopped to look, also.  I asked him what kind of mugs did he like and how did he hold one.  He'd never given it much thought, he said, because restaurant mugs are much the same and he held them however he could.  He said he only used what was available at home, too.  That started a brief handle conversation and I made several mugs after that, that I called "Man Handlers"; large mugs with longer handle openings for larger fingers and a little bit bigger diameter so big guys can feel the handle.


Enjoy what you do.  Practice and practice some more and as long as your ware is well made, don't be afraid to try different shapes and forms.  When they behave the way they're supposed to after they come out of the kiln, you'll have fun with your art/craft and customers will be pleased that you're thinking of them.   By making multiples of the same shapes and sizes, you'll gain product recognition and the multiples draw those for whom having like things are important. 


Robin Hopper is the ultimate in contemporary pottery mastery, and these folks on the forum give us great advice and ideas.  Welcome to the world of clay!

In Topic: Recentering Issue, Trimming Problem

19 October 2014 - 10:53 AM

For anyone still following this thread, I've determined that my Giffin Grip is in good working order and that my trimming problem is almost certainly my doing.  Can't fault any of the machinery.  I've been giving some thought to crutches.  I guess I've learned not to use that term except for its literal definition.  The use that has been adopted for our society seems to be "to use a thing as a way to avoid."  I would add "to use a thing as a way to compensate."  When one has handicaps, crutches are wonderful and allow us to continue to do the things we love when we don't have the ability to do them the "right" way.  Clay is such a wonderful medium for all the people who choose it. 


I've been making pottery for many years and was never any good at tapping something into center.  One instructor enlightened me that it depends on the position one's fingers take when tapping and I had more success after doing it his way, but tapping doesn't always work for the piece.  When I first learned pottery back in the early '80s, I was taught to use my needle tool (or fingernail) and lugs and that worked well over the years until I got my GG.  I adore it because it saves me so much time and aggravation.  I'm more toward the end of my creative life now, I'm still a hobbiest vs professional, and whatever makes my throwing days easier for me, I'll happily use as crutches and keep on enjoying having my hands in the mud.  I love sculpting and hand building, as well, so I shouldn't have to quit working yet! 


Thanks, Pres, for reminding me about the rims.  I think that may be my total problem, but I can't put it to the test until I start throwing some more this week.  If a jar is not level at the rim, that leans the bottom when it's turned over and thus a simple solution to my issue.  No matter where the lugs are placed or the posts of the GG, the thing would still be leaning a little, wouldn't it?  At least enough to make a difference in the trimming, but perhaps not quite enough to be obvious when I'm looking down on it and depending on the tapping, scratching, or the GG to get it right.  Being more alert and more open to all the angles should do it.  I appreciate everyone's input and I appreciate the differences in methods.

In Topic: Recentering Issue, Trimming Problem

17 October 2014 - 06:46 PM

I wire off my pots as soon as I'm finished with them and leave them on the bat until time to trim.  They usually detach easily.  Sometimes I rewire them, but there's nothing out of the ordinary that I'm doing now that I haven't done for many years.  For Pres, as you notice in my original post, I can't throw tall or big.  I'm not able to center more than about four pounds of clay and I can't pull taller than seven inches tall.  When all of you mention "smalls," I guess everything I make is what some would call small if I make it on the wheel.  There's nothing that should distort.  Oh, yeah, about the flipping ... The pieces are already stiff enough to handle when I take them off the bats, so turning them over is no big deal. 


I thought for sure that I'd find one of the Giffin Grip's sliders off a little, but they're exactly the same as they have been since I put it together.  I've just got m'self a mystery.  I've decided that after I throw more pieces, I'll place paper on the top and if the diameter is small enough, I'll put the little level on it and see if maybe it shows anything.  They all feel level and in-center when I'm done and they're visually centered.  I've really messed up a whole evening's throwing this week due to the trimming being so much off center, but the stage is too dry to fold back into wet clay, so it's just more to put aside with the intention of reworking some day or adding it to the fill for a larger studio driveway.  :-)


Thanks for everyone's input.  Guess we can put the subject to rest and if I ever learn what the heck's goin' on, I'll post it.

In Topic: Recentering Issue, Trimming Problem

17 October 2014 - 03:18 PM

I checked the tabs and each one is set even with the same number (20).  I checked the level of the wheel head and the level of the GG when attached.  Both are bubble center.

In Topic: Recentering Issue, Trimming Problem

17 October 2014 - 01:36 PM

Thanks for that suggestion.  I'm going to my studio right now and take a look.