Ceramic Mug for Mom Using Lowfire Blackjack Clay

 how to make ceramic mug pottery

 Show mom some love this Mother’s Day by making a very special mug just

for her!!  This mug is slab rolled and textured with a crocheted doily.  This

mug is functional and will be cherished for years to come!!

 ceramic mug tutorial materials

Materials needed:

3 lbs of Blackjack low fire clay

Doily and cookie cutters to cut and texture clay

Ruler

Cotton sheeting or canvas, 15” X 15”

A small cup of water

Wooden skewer or needle tool

Plastic bag

PVC pipe 12” long

Wooden slats – 3/16” thick and 12” long

Access to a kiln

Lowfire glaze of your choice (I used Amaco’s Transparent Pearl, TP-56 Scarlet, TP- 42 Granny Smith and Mayco’s Stroke and Coat SC-24 dandelion

Pint bottle to use as a mold

Wax resist

Paint brushes

Cut off wire

8 ½” X 11” piece of paper folded in half lengthwise

To begin this project, take a pint bottle and place it in a plastic bag and tie the top.   


 ceramics with low fire clay

 

Next take your 8 ½ “ x 11” sheet of paper and fold in half lengthwise.  This

will be your pattern for the mug. Wrap this around the pint bottle and make

sure it overlaps a 1/2´”. 

Take your block of clay and slam it onto the table making the shape of the

block more like a long rectangle.  This will help when you begin rolling it out. 

Now cut a thin slab of clay off of the block of low fire Blackjack clay.

 working with low fire clay

You can use a cutting wire made of fishing line and two thin dowels that have

a small hole drilled in each.  Try to make the thickness uniform so that you

won’t have to roll the clay out too much.  Place the clay on a piece of canvas

or cotton sheeting. Using the 3/8” slats and rolling pin begin to roll the clay out

into a rectangular shape.  Make sure to keep the rolling pin on the slats to roll

the clay evenly.  Don’t pick the clay up to move it, just slide the canvas around

to roll the clay out.

 how to make a ceramic mug

When you have the clay wide and long enough for your mug pattern, take the

doily and roll into the clay. You should continue to use the wooden slats for

guides even with the doily so the clay will not get too thin.

adding texture to the clay

 

pottery ceramic mug tutorial

Cut the pattern out using a needle tool held at a 90 degree angle.  Set this

aside to dry a bit so that your clay will get stiffer.  Take your finger and slightly

moisten the edges to smooth them a bit. Wrap this piece of clay around the

plastic wrapped bottle to see where the seam will be.  With the rolling pin,

slightly taper the edge of the clay and score with a needle tool on both edges

to be joined together.  Take your finger and slightly moisten the edges that are

going to be joined.

how to join ceramic clay

Press these two edges together firmly.  

make a pottery mug

Use a piece of the doily to blend the edges together.

make an imprint in pottery

Repeat the process of slab rolling and pressing the doily into the clay to

make the bottom of your mug.  Take the prepared mug form and set on

top of the rolled out clay.                

make a mug pottery base

ceramic mug with low fire blackjack clay

Score the bottom slab and the adjoining wall and slightly moisten to join the

two pieces.  Make sure you don’t get the plastic bag caught in the seam.

Open the plastic bag and pull the bottle out and make sure the plastic is not

caught in the seam.  Blend the bottom seam up with your thumb.  Roll out a

thin coil of clay. Score and moisten and then press into the seam at the wall

and bottom to reinforce the bottom.

 how to decorate a ceramic mug

 Using cookie cutters and coiled clay begin decorating your mug.  Make sure

to score and slip each piece that is added on.

pottery mug handle how to

Make a handle by cutting out a 3/8” thick x 7” x ½“ piece of clay.  The handle

could be slab rolled and textured or coiled.  Attach the handle to the mug by

scoring and moistening both sides and firmly pressing it onto the side.  Let

this dry completely.  Bisque fire in a kiln to a cone 04. 

glaze low fire clay pottery ceramic mug

Glaze your piece of pottery with appropriate low fire glazes.  I used a scarlet,

apple green and a dandelion yellow glaze and brushed wax resist over these

glazed areas and then brushed onto a white pearl glaze. Let dry.  Glaze fire

to a cone 05.  Your mom or loved one will cherish this for years to come!!

Happy Mother’s Day, MOM!      

 

Artwork and Photography by Karen Lowrey   

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