Baby’s got backfill

Soooo, anyway… An exciting last several days in the world of arts advocacy and arts policy debates! But enough of that for the time being. We potters are so on the fringes of accepted art status that I’m sure most of you fellow potters are scratching your heads about the sanity of my obsession. Or maybe not….

But back to pottery concerns…. This is a ‘pottery’ blog, isn’t it? (I guess that’s up for debate….)

My last pottery specific post was all about my love affair with mugs. The idea was primarily that making and using mugs can be an intimate and expressive engagement. But on top of that, we potters have what’s known as ‘pottery porn’ (tip of the hat to Bridget Fairbank for that term!). And it occurred to me that part of my fascination with mugs is in the visuals of the curve of the small of the back, and especially how the handle on my mugs seems to swell out of this pert athletically curvaceous anatomical body part. And even more especially these days, I am taken with the meaty backfill at the bottom end of the handle. I like to think my mugs are bootylicious. What do you think? (And sorry its only greenware. I’m just not comfortable pimping my finished pots. And besides, you can see the shapes better without the distraction of clothing…. Er, I mean the glaze.)

The last three handles are a bit different than the ones I normally make. I guess I was thinking that especially with ‘plus’ sized mugs it was important to have a handle that you could get a proper grip on. Sometimes in the past I think my larger mugs suffered from having too wispy and slender handles. Perhaps they both looked and felt like they belonged on a slimmed down trimmer version. The extra heft of these large mugs just means you need something a bit more substantial to get your hands onto.

And back to the porn….. These are a quick survey of pots from some of my favorite shops on etsy. A nice selection of deliciously backfilled handles or otherwise bootylicious pots. Who says handles aren’t sexy? Enjoy!

The pots were from the shops of Jason Bohnert pottery, Dawn Dishaw ceramics, two from Ryan Strobel pottery (perhaps my new handle hero!), Nathan Bray pottery, and the pitcher and creamer also both from Ryan Strobel.

Who says etsy is just a low rent district of callow amateurs and seedy one night stands? Some of these artists are so good it hurts to think they aren’t being more widely appreciated.

So maybe its time to gets some fresh action in our lives. Maybe its time to fall in love with a new artist toiling in the shadows, to make a commitment to bringing a piece of their work into your home. Not for a quickie, or a casual hook-up, but for an enduring romance that will teach us new mysteries and fill our worlds with bootylicious joy.

Last week I finally worked up the nerve and took the plunge on asking Ryan’s second mug to be a permanent part of my life. I can’t wait for it to get here! A new companion to inspire me and to comfort me throughout my days! I’m giddy with anticipation! Buying pots over the internet can be tricky, but I’m just salivating in anticipation of my new mail order pottery bride!

So, what’s the new pottery love in your life?

Just a thought…..

Peace all!

Make beauty real!


About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
This entry was posted in Beauty. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Baby’s got backfill

  1. Read your post while drinking tea, Karen left out for me, from a gray salt glazed 1/2 liter Scholossquell mug. The motto says “siet 1753”. In comparison to the handles of C. Gillies mugs, these German handles always feel like they cut and twist my hand, so I often pick them up like a handleless cup, fairly large hands I have. So, 250 years of sturdy fingers cutting handles.

    Have noticed with my accumulation of C. Gillies mugs, not one SINGLE mug of yours hurts my fingers or hands, and though they appear to be slim, I can often get three fingers inside the handle very comfortably. True ergonomic function. Can’t say that about anyone else’s work, ever. Have had arthritis since age 12 or 13. It’s not painful much except when getting fingerprinted for background checks, AND when holding a mug or pitcher. In both cases, fingers get rolled or twisted in some way.

    And, almost all of your mugs that we have are weighted visually to the bottom of the handle, though I don’t think that has much to do with painless handles, as several are weighted to the top. Have thought about “the why” of it. Handle comfort for me may be because your handles have plenty of vertical space, as in from top to bottom, instead of being quite horizontally oriented, as many pulled handles have a large out-y loop with not much vertical interior/negative space room.

    So, Carter, thanks for putting the erg first. Looks really good too.

    1940s & 50s diner mugs are often discomfort-less, also, though for different ergonomic reasons, perhaps.

    • Thanks for the discussion of mugginess!

      I’m relieved my mugs all seem to pass muster. Just to be on the safe side I try to keep my handles from all coming out a standard way because I know that its never a case of one size fits all. By leaving a bit of room for the nuance of individual users I hope I can cover as many bases as possible over the range of my mugs, and that everyone coming to my sales has the chance of finding at least one mug that feels right. What’s that saying about diversification…?

      But I DO think about the erg issues a lot too. I agree that a swath of verticality seems necessary for handles that are for more than a single finger. But, as with all other aspects of pottery and life, it remains an open investigation.

      Thanks for giving my mugs such a good home!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s