The Birth of a Mug

I picked up the large and awkward 25-pound bag of Laguna Specked Buff clay and set it on the canvas table with a thud. Getting my wire, I slice a piece of clay that measures out to be exactly 1.5 lbs. The thin silver wire attached to green handles slides and slices the clay so beautifully. The clay, not wanting to be sliced, holds some resistance which makes the process all the more satisfying. Once set up, I wedge the clay using my leverage along with the firm table top to push and elevate any air bubbles out of my freshly cut piece of clay. Once done, I take to the wheel. The centering is first, the specked buff clay, rough and sprinkled with sand turns round and round the wheel. The sandy texture rubs and grinds the blade of my hand, but at the same time moves and bends at my will. Finding the middle of the clay, I press my finger in with a strong and precise motion, bowing out slightly. The clay spins quickly but stays perfectly in the center, completely content on the wheel. Taking my fingers, I press into the right wall of the clay and start to form my walls. Squeezing and holding the wet clay between my two pointer fingers, I begin to elongate my piece. The walls become delicate and thin. I grab the metal rib, flexible, I bend the awkward, thin, metal oval around the wall of the clay to smooth out and nicely finish the mug. After I trim the bottom and smooth out the lip with a rectangular piece of leather, I take it off the wheel and it begins its’ drying process.

Image found on Dallas Morning News

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