Thursday, October 23, 2014

Tea Bowls, Mugs, & a Cat House

The other day I was reading Lori Buff's blog, Future Relics, where she said you've got to make mugs. I haven't made any mugs in eons so I decided to make a few. Yesterday I made a couple of slap built tea bowls. Would you believe I cut out the pieces for both the same size. One of them is taller than the other. Oh well. I can't take credit for this tea bowl design, I found the pattern on a clay teaching site years ago.

I can take credit for the design of this mug made with stacked strips of clay. The handle is made with the same method. After making the piece I brushed stripes of terra cotta colored slip between the seams. Not sure how comfortable the handle will be; this will be a slow drinking mug.

Which reminds me, in Tony Clennell;s book, Stuck in the Mud, he writes about a mug sent to him by Linda Christianson who picked it out for him from a Mark Pharis firing. When he got the mug he couldn't believe she picked that particular mug out for him. But he trusted Linda's opinion so he started using the mug. Long story short over the years Tony said he has come to appreciate the mug.

Tony learned to hold the mug in a particular way because the handle is too small to get  his hand through, the bottom is rough and so on. Tony said he has to look at the mug to pick it up. The mug was not a mug he could use without thinking about it. So using this mug over the years Tony has grown to appreciate the maker's idea surrounding the design.

Here's the interior of my stacked mug so you can see the seams. Maybe some day someone will recognize this mug as one of mine without looking at the signature.

Barney and Butter don't get along (Barney wants to mark his territory inside) so Barney has to stay outside from now on. Yesterday afternoon we made a cat house of thick styrofoam (insulation) sheets. Now I can't get Barney to go inside. I put some scrumptious cat food in the back to coax him in. He stretched in as far as he could and took a bite of food and brought it out to eat. He kept his back feet out for a quick escape. I think he's afraid to get trapped inside since it's all enclosed. Maybe he'll get used to it slowly if I keep putting the special food inside. I'll be working at the ArtWorks Artisan Center today so I'll catch you later. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. I like the stacked strips mug, as well as the slab ones...lucky Barney getting his own house, and you are so wise to keep your own new house "unmarked" inside.

  2. Hi Barbara, thanks, hope they make it through the firing. If only I can get Barney to go into the new house, he'll sleep in an open one but not the closed one and it was frosty this morning.

  3. I can feel your pain about cats not getting along. When Jeff and I moved in together his cats and my Sophie cat didn't get along. We tried everything we could think of. They ended up living in separate parts of the house. Is there a way that Barney could live in the studio? Would he behave if he didn't see Butter? Just a thought.
    I really like the slab built cups, you should make more!

  4. Come winter Barney will have no problem with cozy and warm. All my Wisconsin friend's cats are out door cats who could sleep in a nice outbuilding, but prefer the Styrofoam cat houses she has lined up on her side porch.

  5. Have you tried Fellaway? It worked miracles when our dominant male died and two others were duking it out for top dog.....errrr cat. It's expensive but it works. Go to their site for more info.
    I like the mug. How about a report after it's fired and you've used it a bit.
    That's a nice looking cat house; rub some catnip on the blanket. I have spent entirely too much of my life trying to figure out the ways of cats!

  6. When I saw your post of Facebook I was wondering if my blog inspired it. I really like that mug and I love Tony’s story. It’s all about being mindful.

    Cat’s are cautious creatures, give him time and food, maybe he will start using the cat house. I trained a cat to use a crate but it took patience.

  7. Hi Michele, thanks, I think both cats are too ingrained into marking their territory and I can't take the risk of letting Barney come in and pee all over everything as I don't always notice it right away, Ugh. I think I will make more of these, they take a while but might be worth it for the uniqueness of them.

    Hi Joanne, thanks I am not sure Barney will go in that cat house he was living here on his own for at least two years so he's gotten used to making do.

    Hi Suzi, thanks, I have not heard of fellaway I will check it out. I know what you mean about figuring out cats. Ha.

    Hi Lori, thanks, hope it is a mug that is functional as well as nice looking we shall see. I wish I had trained our cats to use the toilet. Ha.


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