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Elephant Platter/Wall Hanging

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You’ve Got To Make Mugs

Do you find analogies between work and life?  Or maybe you find them between your work and someone else’s.  I seem to do that all the time and it’s not even intentional, it’s just how I think.  Like the other day when a friend was talking about a co-worker who spends lots of time and effort on every single project he does.  It’s great that he wants everything to be a masterpiece but it’s difficult when they have deadlines to meet.  My mind connected the dots to what she was talking about to making mugs.

Every potter should be able to make mugs, and good ones.  It’s so nice to hear a customer tell me that the mug I made is their favorite and that they use it every day.  Also, they are the gateway drug to more hand crafted items, especially pottery.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve sold a mug to someone who comes to me later and buys a casserole, a vase, or even more mugs.  Mugs introduce people to the potter’s craft.  They use and enjoy the mug and realize that they would like more handmade pottery in their lives or that a similar mug would make a great gift.

Om Yoga Mug by Future Relics Gallery
Om Mugs

Mugs are relatively inexpensive and thus accessible for the customer.  That also means that I can’t afford to spend a month working on one mug that will sell for $25.  I have to be able to make a well crafted and beautiful mug fairly quickly.  This isn’t about shortcuts or settling, it’s about competencies and practice.  It’s also about knowing when to throw a piece into the scrap bucket.  It’s about balance.

Sometimes we want to create a beautiful and elaborate work of museum quality art, sometimes we want to create a beautiful mug to bring pottery into people’s lives.

Check out the gallery page - Future Relics Gallery by Lori Buff


  1. I should be making some mugs but I never get to it, perhaps today I will, I agree we need to make items that folks can afford to bring into their homes and lives.

    1. Yes, Linda, even if it’s not mugs, maybe a small bowl or spoon rest, but you get the idea.

  2. I love to make mugs. If I am in the studio and not sure what I should be making, I throw a board of mugs.
    Strangely enough, mugs were not big sellers at our last couple of shows.

    1. I’m the same way with mugs, Michèle. And I’ve had some shows where mugs make the day and others where I only sell a few, I’m never sure why.

  3. I agree with you about mugs. A mug is one of those mundane things that has to be well made to be functional.
    I have a found that it's a good way to experiment with new designs. Not too much time invested in the making so few regrets if they don't work out.
    I started my collection of mugs because I didn't have a lot of money to buy other work. Mugs were always a nice example of a potter's work. Plus, they look cool on shelves.

    1. Hi Suzie, I’m not sure I’d call them mundane because I do love making them, I do use them to test glazes for sure. Sometimes a test tile shows us something very different than we see on the mug, I’d rather ruin a mug with a bad glaze than ruin a casserole.

  4. Mugs are a gateway drug... love it. And so true.

  5. Those mugs are quite nice...funny, I have fiddled with mugs for 31 years and finally feel like I have a simple and pleasing shape that I like!


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