Behold my latest creation, shambling its way into the light from Dr. David's mug lab. (Un-carved and unglazed, a legless Golem). Yes- the handle should probably flare upwards a bit more... but otherwise, I like the basic form.

As I discussed last week, I'm working to standardize a set of designs- trying to tread into off-beat terrain without completely shedding functionality. One option, when you move past the basic 'barrel with a handle' schematic, is to add a 'steeper' component. Or a lid. Or both, as in the case of this Korean design.
While I love the function of this piece, I'm not overly enamored with the amalgamated shape. It may be a matter of personal taste... but I think the spirit of Pooh Bear's honey pot hovers over these types of fat-bellied shapes a little bit.

Nothing against Milne or 100-acre wood... but the 'Pooh Pot' is one of the most intuitive shapes to throw on the wheel, and beginners crank them out like hot cakes. Spheres, in contrast, are much more tricky... and to my thinking, more profoundly pleasing to the eye.

Here are the components of the current design. The strainer rests within the mug, and the lid nests atop the strainer. The idea is to retain the basic arc of the sphere.

You can see the theory diagrammed out in my schematic.

So- I was feeling all chummy with myself about this. Then- I did what I should have done from the get-go... which is to lay out the original Korean mug and consider why the maker constructed it the way that they did.

I liked the idea of nesting the lid inside the strainer, thinking that this would nicely augment the curve of the mug itself. Also, I wasn't excited about having two extra layers of stuff sitting on top of the mug's rim.

However, looking at the Korean mug (schematic to the right)... there's one obvious advantage over my design. You can remove the strainer and still have a functional lid.

With my design, once the strainer is removed, the lid no longer fits.

Thus- after a day spent monkeying around in the studio, I'm going to huck out my design. Bring on the Kim-chee! I'll retain the spherical model for the mug. I'll also build add a caudal fin to the lid (as a finger-grip)... similar to the  prototype I've posted above. This should mirror the curve of the mug.
Sadly, there's a pecuniary motive behind all of this. I want to sell some of these things. So- here's a question: Given that these 'steeper mugs' are more finicky to make than a basic 'stein' model... or a simple 'barrel with lug handle' design... is there any advantage to making them?

It will probably take me almost twice as long to crank out a 'steeper'. I'll have to price it up.

The question then... would anyone be willing to pay a bit more for the mug on the left (below) as compared to either of the other models? (Please ignore the fact that the left two designs are unfired, and thus buck naked). I'd love to get a couple honest (even brutal) opinions on this.

Anyhow, enough about mugs. Next entry- the ongoing 'Last Chance to See' project... and the putative aphrodisiac qualities of turtle eggs and tiger ding dong!



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