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updated mon 12 jan 98


Mel Jacobson on sun 11 jan 98

some things handles are not:
ribbons, spaghetti straps....cute shapes, clumps.... trendy attachments.
what they are:
things that fit the human hand.
things that grow from a pot naturally.
negative space that fits the form of the pot.
it balances the pot during the lift.

a true handle has a allows the pot to be lifted and poured
from, or brought to the human mouth.
if the handle has no function other than whatever you want,
and zap this post.

making handles mels way....(an opinion)

i pound a well wedged ball of clay into a square taper, sort of like
dropping it, turn it, drop it.....the taper grows.
hold the taper in front of your face, wet your hand and gently pull the
form down, turning the wedge around with each pull.
remember that you want the handle to have two tapers...side and front.
when that handle is 3/4s pulled -place it on a flat surface, small end
away from you....if you want them all the same...make a pencil line and make
all the handles the same length.

when they are just set for about 10 minutes...a little dry...attach them to
a leather hard mug.

i do not ever place a handle on the rim...always a fingers length below the
rim. i score with a pin, use spooze. hold the mug upside down at a 45
degree angle...and pull the rest of the shape...double taper.
turn the pot over as you hold the end of the handle...attach.
(do not spooze or score the bottom.) the handle shape should be the
natural fall from the mug......look at the hole, not the handle.
it should be your first real experience with negative space. (for real)

if you want all your handles the same, very same....use a bent coat hanger
caliper....measure from the attachment to the length of the handle....clip
off any remaining handle hanging...and attach. do the same on the next one.
make the same shape each time...if the handles are soft, they will sag.
if they are just right, they will stand like soldiers. do that 5,000
times and you will get good at it.

coat hanger wire is perfect for calipers....make many of various
lengths.bent into a u shape (or v) the ones that you like.....teapot
handle lengths...casserole openings.
mark them with tape....(duct)
hang them on the wall....and out line the size with a felt pen...and
write the poundage of the pot you measure.
can check perfect size each time you use them. i sharpen the ends with a
also sharpen my trimming tools with a soon as they
are dull, i grab another. if you want ring feet the same size...use a
coat hanger for the inside, one for the out. place one end
in the center of the pot, and mark lightly as the pot spins. cut to the mark.

i like to write sizes, pounds of things, caliper size, glaze formula
etc..right on wall of the studio.....with a permanent marker....never loose
them. i keep a book, a log, but don't use it much. just glance up at
the wall when i cannot remember. (then people can steal my ideas...makes
them feel important, `got it` from me...of course all they have to do is that all on a givaway sheet. not much is new or secret in
ceramics.......hell, just ask ron roy or tom buck...they can tell you
anything....and bill on persimmon hill knows `almost` everything (course he
is much older than me).
and geez if they do not know....ask that damn cannnnuck in ontario...tony.
he knows everything.


the `hawk is back`...minnesotans are gleeful....the lakes are finally
freezing...and we can drive our cars on them, put out fish houses,
fish all night in the cold and frozen ....god, what fun.
17 degrees below zero F. tonight and a good stiff 30 mile an hour
wind.....75 below wind chill.....everyone in minnesota is smiling.
gd el nino`, lost our winter. (i ain't kiddin youse guys)