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CelaDonna

Mugs - Handle Or No Handle

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I realize that mugs without handles are cups. However, I love mugs without handles like so many other people do. I have a small home studio, and I am testing my talent. 

 

I made my husband a fabulous mug without a handle. He says it's too hot and burns his hands. I personally love to feel the heat in my hands. It soothes the pains of years of computing.  :D

 

I made my hot chocolate in a commercially made mug and held it without using the handle. It was very hot. That's why you put handles on mugs right?

 

Am I being selfish not putting handles on my mugs? I give them away mostly, but intend to sell them in the future. I guess I could make mug koozies and upsell them. LOL

 

What is your opinion of handles on mugs? How could you not love this  mug? (see attached.)

 

 

post-73927-0-08457400-1452536410_thumb.jpg

post-73927-0-08457400-1452536410_thumb.jpg

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Well, made to  the size of the hand, the yunomis folks make have a foot which one rests on the fingers of one hand whilst holding the yunomi near the rim with the fingers of the other. You could nestle the yunomi in both hands as the liquid cooled.

The liquid in these is usually  not be steam hot, nor are they filled to the brim, but I can see that this , ie a footed beaker may solve your husband's problem.

A cup, to me, is stilled "handled" but smaller and has a wider opening ,more bowl shaped..

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Mugs need handles-you can hold yours on the part without the handle if that warmth helps you.

The handle is easier to use hot fluids from and for me is easier all the way around .I rarely use cups compared to mugs.

A cup is limited to cold fluids

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Sometimes new potters are uncomfortable with the learning curve pulling handles presents.  And sometimes those new potters find they prefer vessels without handles.  I should say that I don't mean to imply that's the underlying reason for the OP to prefer handless mugs, but that it is often skill rather than taste that dictates the preference.

 

Mugs need handles.

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The tall "mug" without a handle definately has a purpose.  It's called a travel mug and fits into your car's cupholder.  Otherwise, without a handle, it suits only one preference.  With a handle it suits both preferences.

 

That said, since you are the potter, make what you want.  If you want to sell your handleless mugs you will just have to see if they sell, or not.

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Having been a pottery teacher, I have also encountered folks who are saying "handles aren't necessary" when they really mean "I don't like to make handles." A good handle is one of the most difficult skills to learn, but when you have reached the other side of this curve, you'll be glad.

 

In some parts of the world, people are used to using tea cups without handles. If you are in the U.S., mugs need handles.

 

I used to make a tea cup (with a lid and strainer) with no handle. Sold a lot of them too. But over time I heard enough feedback like "I stopped using it because it's too hot" and "it could really use a handle." If you intend to sell your pots someday, you cannot dismiss this type of feedback.

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Guest JBaymore

Actually I read somewhere that tea bowls have no handles because if they are too hot to hold, the tea is too hot to drink.

 

Some background..........

 

When the beverage is first poured (and hottest) yunomi are traditionally grasped between the bottom of the foot with the center two fingers of the hand and the thumb sitting on the top of the lip.  Your hand forms the shape of the "handle".... keeping it away from the hot clay.  As the beverage cools, then a 'closer to the hand' grip happens until you can fully "cup" the yunomi in your hand to enjoy the warmth.

 

Japanese green tea (brewed ones, like sencha and bancha) is not made with really hot water, like many black Chinese teas (or the typical American methods).  Really hot water makes green teas bitter.  The optimum range is around 140-180 F. (Try it!)   "Serious" tea folks go crazy about precise water temps for specific teas (as well as crazy about specific unglazed clays enhancing flavors of specific teas). 

 

So the "target" temperature of the liquid in a typical yunomi is not as hot as you might imagine.  We drink brewed Japanese greens all the time (sencha and bancha).  We have a Japanese hot water unit that pumps out hot water for making tea whenever we want.......(Zojirushi   https://www.zojirushi.com/app/product/cdjuc    ) ..... and it is set at 140F.

 

Chinese tea ceremony for the black teas like puer does always start with fully boiling water (212 F) but also involves some cooling steps to take some of the heat off the liquid before it is served and consumed.  And the teacups used for that are very tiny and so do not have a huge thermal mass to burn the hand.

 

Chawan (actual Japanese Tea Cermony bowls) are generally large relative to the amount of whisked tea that they will contain.  Lots of thermal mass "heat sink" to take the temperature off.  A bowl that is 13 cm in diameter and 9 cm in height will typically have well less than 1/3 of the volume with anything in it.  (The tea is an amount that can typically be consumed in three sips.)  When the tea is being made by the host the water is slightly cooled before being scooped out of the kettle (taken off low boil) and added to the powdered tea (matcha) in the bowl.  The whisking action also causes the tea mixture to cool a bit.

 

The tea is thicker than most non-tea practitioner people are familiar with, and the water content is less than with the brewed teas most are familiar with.  Water stores a lot of heat energy....tea leaves do not.  For actual Ceremony, the top quality powdered green tea leaves are ground finely (looks like green tempra paint) and mixed with water...... with 'thin tea" (usucha) being slightly creamy... and 'thick tea' (koicha) being about the consistency of good thick latex house paint (most Westerners do NOT like it).

 

When at the hottest point, the Chawan is picked up by the host very similarly to what I described for yunomi above with the right hand...... and then placed on its foot in the palm of the outstretched left hand.  It sits there for a moment, then is again picked up by the foot and lip with the right hand, and placed in front of the Guest on the tatami.  The Guest then picks up the Chawan by the foot and lip with the right hand and places it on the palm of the outstretched left hand.

 

The time involved in the various procedures is allowing the bowl to reach a comfortable temperature to cup with the hands a bit later in the ceremony.

 

best,

 

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

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Since I sell vessels in the US I make all my my 7 styles of mugs with handles

I make what I call a tumbler which is a glass.Its like a tall milk glass a no trimmer tall cold beverage container .

You can see them at my web side as they Are my color samples on sample page.i no longer flair them as those photos show.

I also rarely make a 1/2 glass for a few shows as well

I do make a few salt Yunomi but it's not a sales thing.

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I always make my mugs with handles. I have made some cups with hand fit-distortions in the ware that fits the hand.  However, when I use a mug, I often on cold days will grasp the cup with my hand going through the handle not actually holding the handle. This make the mug easier to lift without slipping, and warms my old bones. Yes I drink my coffee very hot, and prefer handmade mugs as they do seem to insulate the extremes.

 

 

best,

Pres

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To me:

 

a cup is made of "ceramic", has a handle and sits on a saucer;

a mug is made of "ceramic", has a handle, doesn't sit on a saucer and is bigger than a cup;

a beaker is made of plastic or glass and doesn't have a handle

 

Hot drinks require vessels with handles, cold drinks don't require a handle.

 

I too often hug mugs to warm my hands, but they need a handle to start off.

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I like making yunomis, because one of our sons is a chef in NYC and a tea fanatic (John is not exaggerating about the intensity of tea people.)  But most of my drinkware consists of mugs, which are among my favorite forms.  I like mugs for the same reasons I like cereal bowls and pipes-- intimacy.  People will use their favorite mug every day.  A great mug will become a part of someone's life and when it breaks there might even be tears.  A mug will rarely be forgotten on a shelf.

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Guest JBaymore

........ and a tea fanatic (John is not exaggerating about the intensity of tea people.) 

 

Yup.  Niche market... but a very good one.  Plenty of tea folks in the USA.  But you'd better know what you are doing.... not only on the pottery side but on the TEA side also.  They take tea very seriously.  I do too... but not to the extremes that some do.

 

Yunomi: http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/gallery/image/3293-yakishime-yunomi-with-nh-granite-inclusions/

 

Mugs: http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/gallery/image/5787-mugs/

 

best,

 

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

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Plenty of tea folks in the USA. But you'd better know what you are doing.... not only on the pottery side but on the TEA side also. They take tea very seriously.

This is important to point out to anyone who wants to make yunomis in order to avoid making handles. Making a yunomi that will impress a serious tea person, is just as advanced and elusive as making good handles (if not more).

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Guest JBaymore

 

Plenty of tea folks in the USA. But you'd better know what you are doing.... not only on the pottery side but on the TEA side also. They take tea very seriously.

This is important to point out to anyone who wants to make yunomis in order to avoid making handles. Making a yunomi that will impress a serious tea person, is just as advanced and elusive as making good handles (if not more).

 

 

 

Well said, Mea.

 

best,

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

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You are the potter, make your mugs the way you like them. If you have been asked to make something in a way that isn't your style you have the creative freedom to decide if you'd like to try experimenting in other ways.

 

My personal preference, I like my mug to have a round belly (for my hands to cup) and to taper in at the top (to keep the liquid from getting cold too fast). I don’t like the mugs I use to have a handle (gets in the way of my hand cupping :) )

 

I make mugs both ways. 

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