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The Maker's Marks

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As I upload product images and descriptions to my store before its inaugural launch, I can't help but think about the marks that make my mugs, cups, and so on distinctly me.

I've long collected mugs and have always valued simple yet modern forms; and the glaze is always a make-or-break deciding factor. But the more subtle marks of the maker have never really been a (conscious) part of the decision process ... and yet it is in these that we say, "hi, yes, this is me; this is my process; this is where I spend a little longer to make something just so, and this is where I let the clay speak".

An example that struck me as I was taking photos yesterday morning:

boston handmade mug

When I was first learning how to attach handles, I struggled to push the top into the wall firmly enough without leaving the imprint of my thumb on top. It left a messy gouge that showed the process all too well, but it was lacking elegance.

And yet, when I glazed and fired those early mugs, there was something human and warm about the dented top of those handles. So, I decided to make it a feature. I'm more confident now, so I push firmly with my thumb in one spot. It leaves a lovely dimple that for some reason is always a tiny bit off center.

I almost always glaze the dimple; sometimes the glaze pools a little, drawing attention to it. I've also colored just the dimple, when the outside of the mug is left as raw clay, maybe with a slip decoration.


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The Maker's Marks