Penelope's Pots

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MAKING A MUG

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WHAT GOES INTO MAKING A MUG? 

(I am SO glad you asked!)



1. Drive to Toronto to the pottery supply store and buy the clay – a 4 to 6 hour round trip.

2. Unload clay into garage studio (usually about 500lbs worth!)

OR

1B. Put reclaimed/used clay through a pugmill to mix it. Depending upon amount of clay this is an                   hours long process

3. Weigh out amount needed for the mug (1 ½ to 2 lbs)

4. Wedge (knead) the clay – each 2lb piece

5. Centre the clay on the wheel and throw the mug shape

6. Remove from wheel and let dry 24 to 48 hours depending upon humidity

7. Put mug back on the wheel and trim the foot

8. Hand create the handle and attach to trimmed mug

9. Add any other decorations to the mug (create face mug, add slip, stamps, or relief)

10. Sign the bottom of the mug with initials and insignia

11. Let the mug dry for 1 week minimum. If mug cracks at this point, re-cycle clay and start over at step        #1B

12. Place mug in kiln with all other wares to fill it and fire to 1850F – about 8 to 10 hours

13. Wait approximately 14 hours for the kiln to cool to under 350F before opening

14. Unload mug from kiln

15. If mug has cracked during firing, discard, write-off and start over at step #3

16. Mix glaze(s). Each glaze requires approximately 3 hours to mix and sieve

17. Put hot wax on the bottom of the mug so it will not stick to the kiln shelf during firing

18. Choose design, paint or stamp on under-glaze design and then glaze mug

19. Let mug dry thoroughly

20. Load glazed mug back into kiln. If glaze scratches off or gets bumped, wash with water and start            over at step #18

21. Fired glazed mug to 2150F. this takes 10 to 16 hours depending on electricity demands

22. Wait approximately 14 hours for kiln to cool to under 350F before opening

23. Remove and check mug. If cracked, or glaze has flawed, write-off and start over at step 1

24. If mug has miraculously survived to this point, clean sharp bits off the bottom with a grinding stone          by hand

25. Print and apply price sticker and put out for sale

26. Last, but certainly not least, try not to attack the foolish person who innocently asks “why does this          mug cost so much?”

AND, let us not forget all the hidden steps NOT numbered here;

* Answer phone

* Sell pots (privately at home or via craft/1812 events – includes set up, tear down and travel)

* Pay Hydro

* Develop new glazes and slips

* Teach

* Research 1800’s period pottery and designs and methods

* Create new designs and evaluate what works and what doesn’t

* Answer customer questions

* Pay Hydro

* Re-cycle clay – involves slaking the clay down with water, allowing it to dry out to the correct firmness,     putting through a pug-mill to mix and reconstitute the clay

* Update website and social media regularly – including taking pictures and videos and posting to               several different platforms

* Re-order business cards as needed

* Pay Hydro

* Discard and write off any broken pots after packing/unpacking and travel to and from sales events

Thank you for your time and attention!

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