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I have been making medallion mugs for a short time now.  By a medallion mug, I mean: rolling out a thin slab, using a round cookie cutter to cut out a small blank medallion, stamping an image (usually a logo) into the blank medallion, attaching it to a leather hard mug.  My mugs are OK, but I need to take them to the next level since I am getting some good sized orders.  My main problem is getting a nice even edge around the medallion after I attach it.  Any suggestions, or better yet, instruction videos out there?  I have learned basically by trial and error (mostly error). I tried to post a photo, but this blog will not accept that large of an attachment.   Thanks, Jim 

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What do you mean "Even edge"?  

 

You cut out the circle, with a cookie cutter of sorts, stamp the medallion, then attach right?

 

Is the circle distorting, when you press the medallion?  If so, how about pressing the medallion image, then using the cookie cutter?

 

Or is the issue, when you go to attach?  Is the medallion warping, after you attach it?

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Hey,

 

It sounds as though you're making medallions similiar to the Bellarmine jugs and mugs of the 15th

and 16th centurys.  I make the stamps then push clay into the stamps, then score and slip the

stamp and jug and attach.  It seems to work for me...  I'd do a search for

bellarmine jugs to get ideas from....

Good luck

Alabama

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I stamp the clay after it is cut into a round circle, but before placing on the mug.  I use custom made rubber stamps that are not attached to a wooden handle so that I can leave the rubber stamp attached to the clay when attaching it to the mug and not distort the image. Is there a better tool to clean the edges after attaching?  Is there a better trick to applying the wax to the medallion in a more precise way.  I have pictures on my web site: jfetzerpottery.com

 

Thanks

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What do you mean "Even edge"?  

 

You cut out the circle, with a cookie cutter of sorts, stamp the medallion, then attach right?

 

Is the circle distorting, when you press the medallion?  If so, how about pressing the medallion image, then using the cookie cutter?

 

Or is the issue, when you go to attach?  Is the medallion warping, after you attach it?

Yes, the medallion is warping when I press it down.  Thank you for that thought Benzine.  I hadn't actually considered that I was pressing it out of shape.  (duh on me)  I need to re-work my attachment process.  Maybe less pressure, but still need to make sure it is secure.  I have had them pop off in the bisque fire.

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Hey,

 

It sounds as though you're making medallions similiar to the Bellarmine jugs and mugs of the 15th

and 16th centurys.  I make the stamps then push clay into the stamps, then score and slip the

stamp and jug and attach.  It seems to work for me...  I'd do a search for

bellarmine jugs to get ideas from....

Good luck

Alabama

Interesting, but a little too primitive for my clients and not salt glazed.

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Consider doing it in this way:

1) roll out your thin slab

2) press your rubber stamp onto the slab

3) cut the medallion out with the cookie cutter. Since the stamp has already been applied to the clay slab, there will not be any distortion of the medallion.

4) gently release the medallion from the cookie cutter and gently release the rubber stamp from the medallion.

5) take the freshly made medallion and carefully lay it over a large rolling pin. Make sure the the medallion is correctly oriented on the curvature of the rolling pin, and gently press the medallion over the rolling pin.

6) let the now-curved medallion firm up to soft cheese hard.

7) gently apply the curved medallion to the side of the mug using slip, etc. and clean it up by your usual methods.

Pre-flexing the medallion and letting it firm up in that position makes it less likely to spring back to flat and pop off as it dries.

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I agree with Benzine about stamping the image first then cutting it out with a cookie cutter. If you put a thin piece of saran wrap on the clay before cutting it out the top edge will be nicely rounded and doesn't need smoothing. (do you call plastic wrap saran wrap in the States?)

 

I would also think about letting the medallions firm up a bit while draped over a rolling pin or something similar to the curve in your mug until they are as firm as the mug when you attach them.  

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Here is my process. I work with a stamp that is already round, with a textured border that leaves a ridged border on the medallion. I also draw an arrow on the side of my stamp indicating where the top of the image is.

 

1. Make mugs, dry to leather hard, handle.

2. Roll small balls of clay from the handle-end leftovers. By small ball I mean larger than a pea, smaller than a marble.

3. Smash a ball flat with the stamp, taking care to squish with even pressure so the same thickness of clay squishes out to the edge of the stamp all the way around. Practice if you don't get it right away. The edge will look crackly, but it should not have any deep cracks or terribly uneven spots.

4. Score the attachment spot on the mug.

5. Without removing the medallion from the stamp, score the back of the medallion and wet a little.

6. Taking care to position the stamp with the mark in the up position, use the stamp to press the medallion into place on the mug.

7. Gently pull the stamp away. Gently press the edges of the medallion into the mug with your hand if needed.

 

I do it this way so I don't have any obvious cut edges, I can get a thinner workable medallion, and I get no distortion of the image, edges, or size.

 

I'll add links to a couple photos in a sec.

 

Eta: never mind - I'm on my phone and copying image urls never works when I want it to. There are examples in my gallery photos here on the CADC site :)

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Dick's suggestion, of laying over a rolling pin, so that it starts to dry, is a good idea.  When I attach similar things, I'll actually drape them onto the object, to which they will be attached.  That way, the curve is exact.  

 

Either way, by making sure both the vessel and medallion are the appropriate wetness, and allowing them to dry curved, should limit any future issues, with said medallions.  

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In my studio we always let sprigs dry as much as possible before attaching them to the leather hard mug. Just barely flexible is the goal. As mentioned above we let them dry over a rolling pin or some other curved item. By letting the dry you get less shrinkage so they are less likely to crack once they are applied to the pot.

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If your moving to higher volume productions, you might consider a special carved medallion stamp.  One that is curved so that you can press the medallions on to the cups without warping them. 

in theory you could roll your slab, cut out your "round" then use place it on the curved stamp, press it in using a rolling pin or some other similarly cylindrical surface,  prep the back of the medallion while in the stamp,  then prep the cup then apply to the cup, remove the stamp.   You never have to hand-handle the finished medallion then.

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