Fossil Mugs Part 2

Last week I showed you some fossil mugs (and a pitcher) that I've been working on recently. They emerged from the glaze firing the other day, and while this blog isn't intended as a bragging platform, I have to admit, I'm rather pleased with how these turned out:

As a glaze, floating blue is a great solo color that breaks over just about any texture, so you're all but guaranteed to get a compelling piece. I particularly liked the contrast between the raw clay that had been preserved by the wax resist, visually and texturally, and the glazed surface. Let's take a look at some of these pieces:

Trilobite from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Dimetrodon from the BYU Paleontology Museum

Same cup, other side. Fossilized leaf from the BYU Paleontology Museum.

Seymoaria Baylorensis from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Albuquerque. Is it an amphibian? A reptile? Scientists are still out on this one.

Coelophysis, New Mexico's state fossil, from Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu.
Aside from glaze interaction, however, what makes me happy with these pieces is their size, particularly the stegosaurus mug. 

Stegosaurus was one of my favorite dinosaurs as a kid (I always wanted the one that gets it in The Rite of Spring segment of Fantasia to win), so it's only appropriate I suppose that it would be the star on this special piece. I've been trying to throw bigger mugs for a while now, but had been consistently frustrated with the impact of shrinkage of my pieces. For the stegosaurus mug, however, I made a breakthrough when I changed the way I pulled my walls, using my knuckle instead of a fingertip along the outside edge. Doing that enabled me to pull up more clay in less time, allowing me to enlarge the piece before it got saturated with water and collapsed on itself, which is what had been happening before. This mug can hold up to two cups of water, more than enough for tea or cocoa. Before, I was lucky if anything I made could hold one cup.

For a comparison, I photographed the stegosaurus mug next to one of the first mugs I ever made, back in the fall of 2014. I'd been throwing for only a few months then. The different, I feel, speaks for itself. Not that there's anything wrong with smaller cups, but it's nice to have the versatility to throw in a variety of sizes.

This is why I tell people to not be afraid of using my stuff. With each batch I see improvements, so even if you do break something, chances are I can send you a better piece in the future.

So here's to many more dinosaur mugs.


  1. Very nice work! Do you draw each individual image in each mug?

    1. Thanks! Glad you like them. Yes, I hand-draw each skeleton using a clay needle tool. The drawings are based on sketches I've made at various natural history museums I've visited.


Post a Comment

Questions? Comments? Speak your mind here.