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Put a Handle On It

Mugs are considered one of the most intimate piece of pottery you can use.  We contact it with our hands, our lips, and our favorite beverage.  That may sound silly (and it was intended to) but if you've ever had a cup of coffee from one of those heavy, thick walled, ugly, diner mugs you know how something that should be pleasant can be ruined by a poorly made vessel.  The coffee dribbles down the side of the mug as you sip until it drips in your lap.  The handles don't feel comfortable either.  They are too clunky and not curved correctly for my hand.

I'm not trying to bash diner coffee mugs, they are built the way they are to be durable, I get this.  The point I'm trying to make is that we can enjoy our coffee, tea, soda, beer, whatever better when it's made by someone who is thinking about the experience of enjoying the beverage.  That's why we love our handcrafted mugs.

Many potters love the act of creating the piece.  We love to throw or hand build a pot so that it's really nice.  So it feels good, looks good and functions well.  Some potters I know hate to glaze because they are so much more interested in the form.  This focus on form, on making pots that are light, rims that are the perfect thinness, and handles that feel good to hold.

Mug Handles by Lori Buff
Handles Awaiting Attachment

When I make mugs I always pull some extra handles.  It may seem wasteful but I like to have more handles than I need so I can match up the handle to the mug (I do the same with pitchers).  Some potters make a handle that they like and will duplicate it as much as possible for each mug.  I think that's fine; it adds a consistency that many people like.  My handles tend to vary a lot because people's hands vary a lot and so do the shapes of my mugs.  My main hope is that someone will look at the mugs I make and find one that they want to own or gift to someone they care about.

Coffee Cup with Horse by Future Relics Pottery
Horse Mug on Etsy

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


  1. I actually like the feel of those old thick diner mugs... it might be a sentimental memory thing.

    1. I can understand the sentimental attraction Michèle, and I certainly wasn't trying to insult anyone. I just think using handcrafted mugs is nicer. I'm glad the mug I have that you made feels really comfortable to me.


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