Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Long on thoughts, short on time.

I have to be somewhere in about an hour and I have to finish cooking before I go so who knows if I can get all  my thoughts down.

The perfect mug.
What is the perfect mug?
The other day I had a conversation with a friend of a customer that had ordered mugs from us somewhere around 10 or so years ago. I am thinking possibly closer to 15 years ago. I am going by a glaze we started moving away from and a shape that I just don't make any more.
But since the customer has this heavy on the mind I agree to try a set of mugs to fit what the customer wants.
I have looked at the size of the mug and I think that maybe the biggest problem is that the mugs I made were 1/4 of an inch too tall.
The mug that they bought and wanted more of was 4 inches. I made the others at 4 1/4 inches and it has bothered them ever since.
Circles were drawn of the "perfect" mug and I then placed the not perfect mug in the circle and it is about 1 millimeter bigger. Yes it is bigger but the lines are really side by side with a speck of white space between them.

Today I decided to make this mug. I made sure to set up a pointer, but even with the pointer the clay at times wanted to stretch up past the stick, down boy, I would think and slap on another one in hope that this one would stay within the lines. As you can see this is a pretty plain and simple shape, but those plain and simple shapes at times can be just as hard , if not harder, to keep in line. I have made 10 and we shall see.

 Of course this made me think of all the mugs that are being made out there and all the folks that pick a mug for many different reasons. For me the top reasons to use a mug is; does it fit my hand, is it balanced well, does it hold the amount of liquid that I want in it, is it for coffee, tea, water, what am I going to use it for. I have many mugs in the cabinet and there are a few I don't use but not many.
I like to drink out of mugs and use them for all liquids but wine.
For some reason when it comes to wine I want glass. The exception to that is a small porcelain cup that I have. That cup is one I like for a small  cup of white wine when I am cooking.
Red, I go to glass.

Mark, on the other side of the room, was working on larger mugs that are great for that big cup of coffee or beer. We have some of these and they are my water mugs. I like a big drink of water and I like a handle with my big drink of water.
The other shape is a tea mug that Mark started making last year and those are my go to for tea.

Like people mugs come in all shapes, sizes and styles.
It is time to go preheat the oven and toss in some veggies that I am planning to take to a pot luck.
I'll let you know how they turn out.


Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I'm curious -- do you like making many things in a uniform shape? I know that Gary almost always refuses to do it, that it takes away from the creativity of being an artist.
I know I want my plates and mugs and bowls to fit into the cupboards we have, but as long as that happens, what is the big difference with the 1/4-inch?
I imagine that sometimes the clay is determined to become whatever shape it wishes, regardless of your expert ministrations.

Dennis Allen said...

The moral of the story -Some people just shouldn't buy pottery.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

Haha, there is KC, jumping in :) I do make some things the same in production but avoid it like the plaugue. Currently have someon ein New Jersey (OF COURSE) who wants a dozen of these things I made in 2007...this convo is like yours, and golly, ZERO patience. 2 days after writing ALREADY asking where they are....
SO, my usual and preferred approach, if possible, is make what the hell I feel like and put it out for people to buy :)
I love looking at all your good work :)

Tracey Broome said...

Oh boy, I couldn't make two of the same thing if I had to, it just doesn't seem to be in my DNA. Your question about why someone buys a mug? I buy first because of who made it and I like that potter, the handle is next, and then the surface decoration. I have all sorts of mugs and love them all, no two are alike, thankfully!

Laurie said...

I'll buy a mug because it fits my hand, it's large enough to hold enough liquid, and I like the way it looks. I hope your vegi's turned out better than mine... tried a new vegi burger recipe tonight that wasn't a keeper.

Shortstuff said...

You never did like coloring inside the lines. You're more the blank sheet of paper kind of gal.
I recall that Dad always liked his mugs with a small mouth. He said the coffee stayed warmer with less surface area to lose the heat. I'm partial to a smaller mug myself. It has to have a good mouth feel, though. The rim can't be too fat or too thin.
You've mellowed in your old age. Used to be when someone broke a mug you'd tell them, "Now you have a set of three." The times they are a changing.

cookingwithgas said...

Karen we do make like things, but we are slow orders. If you are willing to wait we get them done. I do understand the frustration of trying to reproduce an item that someone wants and sometimes no matter what you do it is not right. We do try.

cookingwithgas said...


cookingwithgas said...

Gary, at least you are trying. This is what we do but there is a point of no return.

cookingwithgas said...

Tracey, you know how to love a mug!

Linda Starr said...

A quarter of an inch, yikes.

Amy said...

geez, this reminds me that I do not like to make things to look the same shape.... and well, a mug for me- first I buy a mug because of the potter; then the form and glaze colors.

Lori Buff said...

Tell him it should shrink 1/4 inch in the washer.

cookingwithgas said...

Lori, you made me laugh!
Laurie I will share me roasted recipe with you.
Les, a pair and a spare works for me.
Linda- yikes is right.
Amy keep making those bowls.

Kings Creek Pottery said...

HAHAHAHA!! This post and the responses had me laugh out loud!! Perfect timing, I just had a customer ask for a replacement two mugs, but could I make them a little straighter (??!!) I have no idea what that means!