Every piece I make at Tasha Biggers Pottery is handmade from start to finish.
Mugs are a very popular item, and they are also one of my favorites to make.
I begin with a lump of clay, and throw the mug on the potter’s wheel, making sure the walls of the mug are an even thickness and the shape would feel good in someone’s hand.
I usually throw at least ten mugs at a time, making production go faster because I get into a rhythm, and also making it easier to make “sets,” or mugs that are similar to one another.
After the mugs are thrown on the wheel, I let them air dry until they are at a stage called “leather-hard,” pictured in the photo above. At this stage, I attach a small piece of clay to the side of the mug and use water to pull the clay into a handle.
After the handle is attached, I add a small “thumb rest” to it. I like to add thumb rests because they truly make the handle more comfortable, and give your thumb a better grip. Plus, they’re cute!
I also sign my name at the leather-hard stage of production, then I let the mugs sit until they are bone-dry. Even slightly wet mugs can cause explosions in the kiln from steam trying to escape!
After they are bone-dry, I fire the mugs to 1945 degrees, then I wax the bottoms to prevent glaze from attaching when I glaze them.
Next comes glazing. I hand-mix my own glazes, and the type of firing I do creates a deep and varied color on each pot.
I fire the mugs in the second and last fire, the glaze fire, in my propane-powered kiln. The process takes 8 to 12 hours, and overnight cooling.
The next morning, opening the door of the kiln is a fun surprise. It’s also very satisfying to have a kiln full of brand new pieces ready to be used!
So, there you have it. A lot of work goes into making a mug!