Saturday, July 24, 2010

Making small cups




I've been making cups the past couple of days. Handled cups. Sort of small coffee cups, quickly made with wonky cut rims and beefy footrings. I make plenty of mugs - bigger, flat-bottomed, more capacity - but a few weeks ago started making these small things, really not much more than small teabowls with pulled handles. I fired a few in the kiln a few weeks ago and sold some to Kathy at Cataumet's Daily Brew. Kathy uses my mugs to serve coffee to her customers; she also sells them.
She liked the new smaller ones and told me she'd like to see some in the copper red of her own favorite mug. I use the red, but sparingly. Scares me a bit, like any kind of blue. But Kathy pays cash for mugs and cups, so that set me off on a couple of days of throwing and handling these smaller cups.
There's something a bit more personal about them than the bigger mugs. The handles are one-finger, once in a while two-finger. Smaller in capacity, easier to cradle in the hand, they feel less formal somehow. One that came out of the kiln a month ago was perhaps my favorite all-time cup. It had exactly the right curve to it, fat-sided but coming in a bit at the uneven rim, two-finger handle, a pale white Shino glaze with traces of light brown where it's thin. I drank coffee from it through the whole Arts Alive weekend and spent a lot of time looking at it to figure out why it appealed to me so much more than others. Sunday evening, rushing to pack up and get away from the show, I knocked the cup on the pavement and destroyed it.
You know, that happens more than I'd like to admit, and I usually don't care for much more than a minute. Stuff happens. But I really liked that cup. That may be part of what's driving me to make the 40 or so of the past couple of days. That and a couple of shows coming up.



19 comments:

Tracey Broome said...

I go back and forth from my small mugs to my large ones. If I'm working outside I get a big one so I don't have to make more trips in, the small one is for the evenings when I don't want a lot. The tea bowls we use at every meal and mid day. It's nice to have a choice!

Barry said...

We have cups from Clinton Pottery in upstate NY that are small like those. Love them. I need to take a walk and see what you have!

Hollis Engley said...

Come on over, Barry. Or wait until this batch of 40 of them is fired in the next ten days or so.
Yes, Trace, I like the choice, too.

Peter said...

Hi Hollis,
I love your work. There is something special about small cups, they are delightful to hold, and seem to say something about humanity and friendship. The white glaze with the orange break and waxy appearance is beautiful.

cookingwithgas said...

Darn! But then you were inspired!
I am still an iron black fan.
I have customers all the time looking for a smaller mug- good choice and look at those pretty bottoms!

Hollis Engley said...

Yes, Meredith, we like pretty bottoms here at Hatchville Pottery. And thanks, Peter, looked at your blog and I guess we're going to meet in NC in the fall.

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imagine said...

I think your cups are beautiful, so fresh and very understated.
I must admit I can't stand the tea bowls made by westerners, I feel they are so pretentious and not something of our culture [even though I used to make them myself].
I think what you have done is perfect, you have made the most beautiful tea bowls [fantastic foot rings] then had the courage to add a handle [people should look and learn from those handles].
The result, something very beautiful yet very humble.
Wasn't that what tea bowls used to be about?

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, John. Yes, I think that's right. Bowls of humble origin, used daily, elevated to veneration in the tea ceremony. At least, that's my understanding.

Nu Kua said...

Hi Hollis,

Thanks for your comment on my blog! Sometimes a little encouragement works wonders! specially from somebody who makes gorgeous pieces! Thank you.
I will be making pots and the moment I'm satisfied I'll switch to learning how to play the piano. promise! :-)
(just don't count on any cd's coming out in the future...:-)

cindy shake said...

The wonky rim, the foot, the handle and that perfect frosting white glaze -ALL fits beautifully! I want to hold one in my hand ;o) All the proportions are FAB.

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
paul jessop said...

Hi Hollis, I love them they are just so nice, they make you want to pick one up and hold it.

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, Paul. Nice little cups. I've got about 45 that are now bisqued and will be glazed next week.

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Amy said...

Not only can you make great pottery, you're an excellent photographer. I especially like the first pic.

Incognito said...

I am a bowl person through and through and have many of them and now have added one of yours to my collection; thanks so much for your patience during my travels. I am thankful for being able to visit the studio and gallery and find some beautiful and original pieces. I'm already missing the Cape.

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, Amy and Ruth. I still like shooting photos, though I haven't done it for a living for some time. And I'm glad you made it here, Ruth, in spite of our unfortunate timing. Glad you found something you liked in the gallery. Thanks for that. Next time we'll meet face to face.

Hannah said...

Real sweeties Hollis.