Alright so what I am looking at doing here is not only showing off my collection of cups/mugs/tea bowls but also starting a critical analysis of why I have these pieces and use them everyday. I think that it is critical for anyone who makes table ware, everyday items or just downright functional items to be in contact with items that they enjoy every day. And not only that, but to also think about the pieces while they use them. While to some this may sound like a pretentious and boring exercise just think of it as doing your home work. What kind of mug would you make?
Everyday when I come into the studio I heat up some hot water and start a pot of green tea. Right now I have about five tea pots that I cycle through (three of which are my own and two of which are by Brenda Lichman our now former lab tech… congrats again Brenda!). Currently I have about 35 drinking vessel for my tea in my studio. I do have more at home and over the next few posts I am going to share a few of them with you.

At the moment I am using my Amy Halko mug.


I picked this mug up at the last Dallas Pottery Invitational, which by the way if you haven’t been and you are a north Texas clay person then you are missing out. Amy was selling at the 2009 DPI as well but in the last year her work seems to have taken a more focused direction. She moved off to California, likely to get away from this 110 degree heat we are having, and her work has come back stronger. My girlfriend got one of her pieces at the last DPI and while I enjoy it, it just wasn’t there yet for me.
I do however adore her current work. The mug that I have is proportionally right on, it plays glossy against matte, smooth slick glaze against raw clay, light against dark, organic against geometric. It has got it all. It is a well thought out piece.

The out side of the unglazed exterior of the handle plays nicely against the interior, which is the same slick transparent glaze that coats the rest of the exterior except for the foot. the organic patterns on the sides of the mug play against the two very strong and fine pin stripes that encompass the upper edge of the mug. These finer lines are then mirrored by a more fluid brush stroke around the interior of the lip which in turn acts as a visual in between for the structured lines and the more organic ones. This brush stroke is also mirrored on the foot of the mug where Amy has also thoughtfully carved through the slip a pattern that mirrors the ones on the sides.

The handle on this mug made me try out not glazing my handles, but it didn’t really work out for my body of work. Another thing about the handle is that it is a good thickness. I think that a lot of people get stuck on making things thin. Thin, Thin, Thin, Thin! This is all good and well but there is something to be said for a cup that you know you are holding and don’t have to worry about breaking because you are so surprised about how light it is. And the same goes for handles. A thin handle may not visually be a right fit for the piece. It has also been my experience that often the thinner the handle the more uncomfortable it is. Give me something to wrap my fingers around. Have you ever carried a 5 gallon bucket with one of those wire handles that just cuts into your fingers….that is an exaggeration but I think that it expresses my point. Anyhow, the handle on this piece is generous. It is nice to hold. I would go so far as to call it a joyous experience!

So if you have the opportunity go out and get some of Amy Halko’s work. I think That you will enjoy it. Think about how much thought can go into pieces like this, whether its intuitive or planned out.

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