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ideal functional forms, hurricane bowl

updated fri 10 dec 99


elizabeth priddy on wed 8 dec 99

My nominee is:

I make a bowl that I refer to as a "hurricane

Customers love it and anyone who eats out of
it wants one.

I began with a basic rice bowl design and it
evolved by broadening the base to
accomodate the use of the fork as a cutting
devise, primarily to accomodate NC style
chicken pastry.

( I still do not serve food that my guests have
to work on with a knife, with bones intact.
The one exception to this is grilled steaks. In
the chinese tradition, all food should be ready
to put in the mouth by the time the guest gets
it, it is very european/american to offer a large
chunk of meat to prove to the guest that you
are serving a quality portion. The history of
gastronomy is very interesting to me and the
evolution of cooking and serving styles is just
fascinating. The books on it offer very
interesting information to potters about
form and function as well. A lot of the old
china work is not used at all in the way it was
intended now)

We eat Roman style, lounging on the couch
in the living room for the most part, rarely at
table. These bowls have a rim that you can
balance easily in your hand without touching
the bottom of the bowl where it is hotter. I am
a wus and just use one of those wicker
baskets underneath it, which has room for my
napkin and to hold my utensil while we talk
and enjoy each other's company there on the

These bowls are about 5 inches across the
bottom, flat, then a 45% angle rise of wall that
is about three inches up. This makes for a
bowl that you can eat soup out of nicely, or
pastry or pasta. It has a flat enough bottom
for cutting items with your fork and high
enough sides that anything that moves like
rice or liquid or wiggly spaghetti stays in the
confines of the bowl.

It is not a soup plate technically, because it
has no flat rim for the holding of the crackers.

it is called a hurricane bowl because you
could eat in it in a hurricane without spilling.
Also, hurricane force winds can't knock it
over, labrador retiever tested ; ^}

Elizabeth Priddy

Clay: 12,000 yrs and still fresh!

On Tue, 7 Dec 1999 09:16:56 Ray Aldridge wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>This is exactly the sort of discussion I'd hope to stimulate with ny post
>on mug handles.
>Marian says that her views on ideal forms are idiosyncratic and personal,
>and change from time to time, and I know what she means. But I have a
>strong hunch that these forms are to some extent universal. As Cardew said
>when talking about handles, pots vary widely in size, but the human hand
>hardly at all.
>I'm sure there's no such thing as the universally best soup bowl, or the
>universally best mug. But there may be forms that are best in the cultural
>context of most of us, for certain narrowly-defined purposes. I'd guess
>that potters who've been making pots for many years and using their own
>pots in the kitchen will gradually come to prefer certain shapes, and my
>guess is that these shapes are inherently superior to a shape derived from
>first principles, even if those priciples are heavily oriented toward
>function, but especially if those principles are primarily concerned with
>style and/or artistic content.
>Talking about individual serving bowls, my favorite shapes of all time are
>a little different from the bowl Marian describes below. That's possibly
>because I primarily serve hot soup in them. They rise at an angle from a
>small base to about half their height, and then rise almost vertically to
>the rim, which is thickened and turned out slightly. They stack well, with
>the lower half fitting into the upper half of the underneath bowl. The
>reason I like them better for soup than the bowl Marian describes is that
>the vertical sides of the bowl's upper wall contains liquids more securely
>than a bowl that flares continuously to the rim, an important consideration
>if you dip up the soup at the stove and carry it to the table in bowls, as
>I do most of the time. Now, for salad, if you're not a salad plate
>believer, a low bowl with a continuous flare is superior to the one I just
>described, because it presents the salad more beautifully and accessibly.
>Anyway, I think these are ideas vastly more important (and crucial to the
>success of functional potters) than discussions of glazes and bodies and
>firing. And yet, they're the ideas that seem to get the least attention.
>It makes me wonder if a lot of functional potters in their hearts believe
>that what they are making is essentially decorative. This is a weakness in
>a functional potter, in my opinion. It may be that most customers use these
>wares in a primarily decorative sense, but a pot that's a pleasure to use,
>as well as a pleasure to see, is a much more profound accomplishment than
>any purely decorative object.
>Let me hasten to add that I'm not attempting to stir up another endless
>round of functional vs. whatever blather. I'm just talking about pots
>which are ostensibly functional.
>At 03:52 PM 12/6/99 EST, Marian Morris wrote:
>>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>>Regarding ideal forms. I have ideals for the things I use, and they change
>>from time to time, so maybe there are ideals for particular times, places,
>>circumstances. Take bowls. I am 52, and have been through several iterations
>>of the ideal bowlin my life, but met the ultimate in Japan in the common
>>soup bowl which can be found in any supermarket there. It flares out around
>>45 degrees (maybe) with non-curved sides from a 2 /12 inch flat floor.
>>Stands maybe 4" tall. Utterly functional, the starchy stuff (rice or
>>noodles) sits in the narrower bottom, and the widely flaring top leaves room
>>for you to pile up accompaniments around the edges of the starchy stuff. The
>>foot is a rim about 1/2" deep standing straight up, which allows you to
>>stack the bowls upside down right out of the dishpan, and the foot separates
>>the bowl about 1/2" from the next one, so that they dry themselves, and
>>stack with only 1/2" clearance. The typical Japanese kitchen has only small
>>drying space, and the storage is where you dry them, above the sink. So
>>space, and ergonomically efficient (unlike us where we dry them and then
>>move them to storage). I worked on this form, and took it one step further,
>>by rounding the bottom just slightly to accomodate our spoon (not used in
>>Japan in favor of more practical slurping of liquid contents). Now the bowl
>>is used for most of my meals, including morning cereal, salad at lunch and
>>rice or pasta at dinner. It is a joy to have in the hand, under the fork or
>>spoon, and in the washing.
>>Same for the little thummy place on mugs. Love it, and have recently found
>>that the tall, latte kind of cups are my favorites, as I now start the day
>>with two of those big things full of green tea. There is something wonderful
>>about the balance of a tall slender mug in the hand, with a nice place to
>>rest the thumb and use it to move the mug about. Don't know how I ever lived
>>without it before.
>>These ideal are idiosyncratic to me, but give me daily joy in the use.
>>>From: Ray Aldridge
>>>Reply-To: Ceramic Arts Discussion List
>>>Subject: Mug handle death match
>>>Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 15:18:30 EST
>>>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>>>How many Clayarters make mug handles with thumbstops? I began to wonder
>>>about this after an old customer (the kind that calls you up every year and
>>>asks if you've made any good pots lately) bought several mugs from me and
>>>then asked me why I didn't put thumbstops on my mugs anymore. "My favorite
>>>mug's got one of those doohickeys," she said. Then someone on Clayart (I'm
>>>thinking Tom Wirt, maybe) said something about the undeniable superiority
>>>of mug handles with stops.
>>>I've gone through alternating phases, mostly leaving the stop off my mugs,
>>>but sometimes putting it on. One or the other is bound to be superior.
>>>Visually, I like the uncluttered look of a simple pulled handle. If it's
>>>well-done, I think it can't be beat, esthetically, and it functions pretty
>>>well too. But I think it's also undeniably true that when you're lifting a
>>>mug full of liquid, a thumbstop helps to lighten the perceived weight of
>>>the mug. For folks with arthritis, this might be decisive.
>>>Anyway, to get to the point of this, I've set up another poll to register
>>>opinion on this subject:
>>>If you get a moment and you have an opinion, drop by, please. After the
>>>poll's been running for a while, I'll report back to the list.
>>>It's my opinion that there's an optimum form for every function, and that
>>>the closer we get to that optimum form, the more our pots will be used.
>>>I'm going to explore this idea in the new millenium, and I'll try to
>>>approach it in ways that make my results more than just my unsupported
>>>opinion. I should add that just because I believe this, that does not
>>>automatically mark me as the AntiChrist. And I'm not a disciple of the
>>>Demon Bauhaus either. Ornament is good.
>>>Aldridge Porcelain and Stoneware
>>Marian, breathing clean but cold air in Northern Michigan.
>>Get Your Private, Free Email at
>Aldridge Porcelain and Stoneware

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Veena Raghavan on thu 9 dec 99

Hi Elizabeth,
Love your idea of a "hurrican bowl. We too sit very informally
lounging on the couch, talking or watching a movie, while we eat. Never
thought of eating out of a bowl, but I do make sure that everything can
just be cut with a fork. It's more comfortable that way.

I had never made anything specifically for myself until last year.
I eat a lot of salad and wanted a bowl in which I could mix the dressing
and yet eat from it as well, so I made a largish bowl for myself. No
falling out leaves, when I mix in the dressing, and yet comfortable to eat
from. Now I must think of making a food bowl too!

Thanks for the inspiration.

All the best and happy holidays.


Veena Raghavan