Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Can You Handle It...

The snow is falling and I'm drinking coffee in my bathrobe still and its going on 11:30 in the lovely winter swept AM. Its a snow day up here in the greater metropolitan area of Indiana, PA., 27 degrees for the high and windy...yikes. My daughter has the day off from school and the chaotic sounds of SpongeBob Squarepants are blaring from the living room. Ive got a big pork roast with taters, carrots and onions in the slow cooker filling the house with a great aroma while it cooks for dinner tonight. And it is a perfect time to knock out this new post...

Last post, I told you about my big and work. Today I want to update you on my path to change. I ran into a little bit of a snag...I felt like these pieces were looking a lot like my pieces that were intended for the wood kiln. So what would be the big change other than the type of firing and color of the clay? Maybe that would be enough, but I felt like I needed to change more than that.

Handles can tell you a lot about a mug and the original intention of the maker. So this is where I thought I would start. I am sort of fanatical about handles and choose mugs based on how they feel when I hold them. I have often poo-pooed the occasional wild handle and thought that it might be way too difficult to drink my coffee from...but I have been so wrong. Before Christmas I bought myself a present from Mr. Jim Gottusso who writes a blog I read on a regular basis...Sofia's Dad's Pots. Here it is below:

I was drawn to this wild handle and how much extra time it must have taken to put together. I knew his other work and how nice it was so I took a shot...and I love it. It fits my hand really well and I can hold it like a regular handle... PLUS its just so damn cool. Here are a couple other really cool handles that I like from my collection...The white one is Ayumi Hori and the green one is an older cup I got from Ashley Lynn Dodge back in the summer of 2008 when she was the tech in the land of Chautauqua. All three of these mugs have been an inspiration to me as I have been looking for ways to give my work a new shot in the arm.

It also took some slowing down. Now if you know me, you know that I work slow and my output of functional pottery is not by the boatload. But I have even slowed it down some more...I'm not a production potter and I have very little interest in that sort of thing. But when I was wood firing work I would try and bang out a bunch of pieces and all would have very similar handles and rarely a trimmed foot. Those pieces are nice and don't get me wrong, I love the look of those pieces, but as I said to a friend in the studio the other day..."I'm trying to up the ante". So check out my shots below of the new, brown clay, cone 5, electric fired, footed, and fancy handled mugs that are getting ready for the bisque kiln. Click to enlarge:

Granted, they are not what I would call "wild" but they are a departure from the same for me...I'm sure there will be more changes down the line. I am getting ready for a kiln load of glazed pieces in the next couple weeks and I can't wait. Well, its back to lounging in my jammies and maybe a Wii game or two with my daughter...stay warm folks!


Ben Carter said...

I like the split handle. Interesting contrast to the soft quality of the form. That contrast could show up somewhere else on the pot. Good job for "upping the ante".

jim said...

hi kyle,
the funky handled cup actually exists!, despite the post office's best efforts to lose it. that whole handle thing is a can of worms for sure. i think what non-potters don't realize is that when the cup is unfired, you really can't pick it up by the handle to test it for ergonomics and feel how the heft of a full cup is to your hand. shrinkage is hard to gauge sometimes too. i like those new handles with the top part connecting to the "spur" coming out from the bottom. kristen kieffer used to do her handles that way and i always loved them

k.houser said...

Thanks both Ben and appreciate the comments.

I agree Ben, and Im hoping to bring that decorative aspect of the handle back with the surface treatments.

Jim, I should have thrown Kristen Kieffer in my post...I love her stuff...I know I look at her work a lot and possibly its where I picked up the idea for the split handle...a little elegance for my rounded forms!