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loving your own mug

updated tue 31 oct 00


clennell on sun 29 oct 00

I am always suspect of those that write about their favourite mug or pot
being their own. I think Warren MacKenzie said it best about people that
surround themselves with their own work- "They must like talking to
themselves". I like the company of other potters in my kitchen and living
space. I am sometimes in the company of many different potters. Plates,
cups, bowls from all over creation. Fine company to be in. Although I make
a fine cup, I don't use my own. Mine are for sale. Sometimes you go visit
someone to see your own cup and you think hey that one is happy to live
Went to a meeting last week. Potter put out a great assortment of cups from
different potters. One potter picked his own cup to have coffee out of.
Very weird!!!!! I'll avoid that dude.
I drank out of an old friends cup. Haven't seen him or talked to him for
such a long time. We had such a nice visit- the cup and me. I really must
call him soon.

sour cherry pottery
tony and sheila clennell
4545 king street
beamsville, on.L0R 1B1

Martin Howard on mon 30 oct 00

Tony has a point there, but surely, we must all be able to improve our own
mugs to the stage of being happy to use them as the regular morning coffee
mug or afternoon teacup.

Then, when travelling amongst our potter friends, buy, yes BUY, the mug or
cup that talks to you from their stall. See how long it remains the
favourite and learn from it.

Martin Howard
Webb's Cottage Pottery
Woolpits Road, Great Saling

Diane G. Echlin on mon 30 oct 00

clennell wrote:

> ... about people that
> surround themselves with their own work- "They must like talking to
> themselves".

If that's the case, I guess I like having bad conversations with myself, as most of
my mugs are my own seconds--not good enough to sell, but not bad enough to hammer!
Diane in Ct, mumbling incoherently with a crazed celedon mug

Lee Love on mon 30 oct 00

----- Original Message -----
From: Martin Howard

> Tony has a point there, but surely, we must all be able to improve our own
> mugs to the stage of being happy to use them as the regular morning coffee
> mug or afternoon teacup.

I typically don't use my own work. In Minnesota and Wisconsin
(where I am from) there are just too many good potters not to fill the
cupboards with their work. I sell everything I can make, except the
occasional mug or teapot that my wife needs to have. But she uses them,
not me. I prefer a dialog, rather than muttering to myself. :^)

When my wife went back to close our studio/loft in St. Paul last
month, she packed up my favorite teabowl, a nice MacKenzie shino that I
always had my morning coffee in. It just arrived, along with other things,
in an orange box of stuff she shipped to Japan, just before she left St.
Paul. My mornings start off much better now. :^) Also, six yunomi
of MacKenzie's arrived the other day in another package. They are
Japanese, but they have Minnesota in them too. I touch these and they
remind me of home. You can see the yunomi here:

Lee Love
Mashiko JAPAN
INFPS:! Help ET phone Earth:

MBnews@AOL.COM on mon 30 oct 00

A bit of reflection. I have hated making mugs. I have a load of other
peoples' mugs I have purchased and been given and I like each one of them for
a different reason. Still, I hated making them myself. It was about
handles. Handles on teapots...okay. Handles on pitchers...okay. But
handles just seemed to mess up the profile of my cups. I made tumblers and
tea cups but no handles. Just couldn't get them together...the cylinder and
the handle. The last straw was our NCECA online mug exchange last year. I
ended up exchanging a tea bowl for my partner"s lovely mug but just didn't
feel right about it. She was gracious, but I felt I didn't really come "up
to snuff" At our exchange in Columbus, my tea bowl was one of the few pieces
no one selected at the end. Most other rejects were similarly bereft of
handles as I remember. All of this made an impression which was underscored
by some discussion about mugs not being mugs without handles on this list.
So, I decided that when I got my studio space cleared out for use again, the
first thing I would do is make mugs. A whole bunch of them to have just for
mug exchanges. I just can't stand to be left out! So I did. I made about
25 mugs with small, one finger handles because I just couldn't see bigger
ones on my cups. And then it happened, I actually made one I liked! The
point of all this being to thank you for being uncompromising and forcing me
to stick it out. Now I know. A teabowl is a teabowl or whatever but it is
not a mug if it doesn't have a handle. So this year, my mug will have a
handle. So if it is left, I'll know it is just ugle.

I'll be off list for a while. My son is having his first leave from service
in the Peace Corps and we are meeting in Rome. His girlfriend is working
there and it is so much easier to go there than to get a visa and shots to
visit him in Gabon. I am quite excited as I have not been to Rome and have
not seen him in more than 6 months. I have a suitcase full of Christmas
presents...socks, deodorant, m&m's...survival stuff. A pot for the
girlfriend. No room for clothes. You all take care and rest up. I'm
thinking about starting a raging discussion topic when I get back. I have
lurked long enough.

Best regards,
Mary Beth Bishop
Durham, NC

Nina Jones on mon 30 oct 00

But, Tony, here's another take. Part of my development phase (remember, =
I'm a new baby), I use my own pots so that I can gauge whether or not they =
are comfortable to be with on a long-term basis.

Having used my own coffee mugs, I've learned to adjust my handles so that =
they are more comfortable to use with a full load of coffee, and to adjust =
my height/width so that they are not too uncomfortable to use (I made one =
that was like a small pitcher--geez, what the heck was I thinking?). I =
use my bowls and vases around my house to determine whether or not that =
glaze or that form will make me gag after looking at it for more than a =
week, and to make sure that there will be no delayed crazing, leaking, =
etc. If I'm not comfortable with the pot over the long haul, I know it's =
garbage no matter how much I thought I loved it (infatuation!!) when I =
first threw it and/or took it off the wheel. I'm attempting to filter out =
what just isn't right and what just isn't MINE (too much influence from =
John Potter, not enough influence from within).

Sometimes using your own mug isn't a matter of loving it, so much as a =
matter of coming to know it and learning more about where you're going =
with your work.

That said, I purchase the work of other potters so that I can learn how =
good pots work, in your life, in your heart.

Nina D. Jones
Southside Chicago