Monday, March 16, 2009

Cross-blog dialogue about pots and feet

This morning's wake up smile came courtesy of Eva "Newfoundout Potter" over at She and I have been having a fun dialogue about the functionality of feet. Somehow it seems very personal and yet feet seldom get discussed with the same focus one would give to say firing or glazing. Normally, when I comment on someone's blog it consists of pleasantries, greetings, perhaps an agreement or comment. Otherwise, they are generally brief. Today I rambled for a little while. Maybe I am just too asleep still to edit my thoughts, but there they are. I figured sharing them on my blog was probably also in order - seeing as how I haven't posted a clay related post in a while. (Curse you Hockey Season!)

From Newfoundout Potter's blog: My reply:

Your post today made me smile. I remember about 5 years ago when someone at a show commented on my deep footrings holding water after going through the dishwasher. They wanted me to change my bowl style to suit their dishwasher. Mind you, I believe that listening to your customers is crucial, but I have admit, I dont have a dishwasher. I wash stuff by hand. Water still collects there but it doesnt make me want to stop making deep feet.

As for mugs... I think mug feet are probably the most overlooked part of mugs. Everyone obsesses over handles, and rightfully so. But feet and lips dont get nearly as much care as they deserve.

I think if you were to anthropomorphize your average mug, its casual and oftentimes less-than-considered foot would give it a look akin to a couch potato having dinner in front of the TV. No poise, no grace. It may work, sure. Flip-flops work too. But if you're claybody looks hairy or has the visual equivalent of chipped nail polish...maybe skipping the flipflops is a good idea. Sneakers are okay. Crocs are fine. Mugs dont necessarily call for Manolo Blahniks.

I also understand that mugs are made with a sense of economy. They are the cheapest thing most of us make. Yet I also see them as something all my customers refer to... as in MY favorite mug. They love our bowls, plates, and pitchers, but mugs are so personal.


Judy Shreve said...

Interesting post Alex. I rarely put feet on mugs. My mugs usually have a flat bottom. If I do carve a foot ring -- on a teabowl -- I create a design (hole) on the foot ring that allows water to flow out during it's time in the dishwasher.
But I absolutely love your mugs pictured in this post. Feet give a sassiness or elegance to mugs. I might have to re-think my approach to the bottoms of my mugs.

Alex Solla said...

Hey Judy.

I dont buy into trimmed footrings for mugs either. I think feet are more than just the trimmed concept of feet. A foot can be however the pot sits on the surface. With a flat foot on mug you rely on embellishments like undercuts, wirecuts, etc to establish the end of the mug.

My point really, is that there is not a ton of consideration given to the end of the mug. It is generally cut free from the wheelhead, handled and called done. I think that generally, more love towards the pot is deserved.

For instance... on your Bird Jugs... there is a band of bare clay at the bottom of the jug. The contrast between the color of the clay and the color of the glaze establish the concept of the foot.

More later tonight. Time to make dinner!

Dana said...

I've never had a problem with our bowls in the dishwasher. I think your other customer isn't loading hers the right way - the bowls should be sideways, or at least tilted, and not flat up and down. That way the water drips off the side when it's drying, and doesn't pool on the top.

But anyway, that's me nerding out about dishwashers on a post about feet.

Alex Solla said...

Not to worry, as soon as we FINALLY get a dishwasher (please GOD, all I WANT for Christmas, birthday, halloween, a dishwasher)...
as soon as that happens, then we'll spend some time nerding out on the pros and cons of dishwasher loading. Should be fun!

Anne-Marie said...

I LOVE the mugs (even the feet)- Cute and unique!

Newfoundout Potter said...

Hi Alex - thanks for your thoughts on feet. When I first visited your site I saw a pic of the bottom of one of your cups - a black circle with your signature in white and then surrounded by the cup colour. Very classy - am thinking of doing something similar. Do you sign all your pots that way?