Hospital Cups!

Yes, it’s that time of year…
Today I am delivering Hospital Cups to the 4th and 7th floor of St. Luke’s Hospital. This is a show of gratitude to those who work there, caring for people. They took very good care of me back in 2006. I showed up in a coma, weighing 72 pounds and the nurses, doctors, and therapists did all those little things for me…like save my life and teach me to walk again. Those things that they do everyday, day after day, maybe without enough thank yous and thoughts of gratitude.

Near the end of 2006, when I was able to get back into my studio, I discovered I had only the strength to work with, not 50 lbs. of clay for a platter, not even 4 lbs. for a bowl, but only 1/2 pound. A tiny ball of clay. So I sat myself down and made small cups to thank the many people who had taken care of me that year. After that year, I had no reason to stop. No reason because I am grateful each day for still being here and I think of the people in my life that year very, very often.

If you have a cup from this year, you work at St. Luke’s or you are one of my friends or a family member who took care of me during the year of “My Little Coma”. This is a “thank you” and a show of ongoing gratitude for you, who brought me to this day where I am able to celebrate Christmas with…IMG_7390Scroll down if you would like to see how your little cup was made…

First I cut and wedged two pounds of clay then divided that into 1/2 amounts and tapped those into ball shapes.IMG_7153 The cup, itself, is rather simple…IMG_7318

Then I make more cups…lots of cups…IMG_7170

When the cups dry a bit, stiffen up, I scrape and smooth the bottom and brush on a dark brown engobe. An engobe is a clay slip. Slip is clay with enough water added to be liquid.IMG_7312

After the brown dries (just a few minutes), I brush on a white slip. I pay attention so that the brush marks look good.IMG_7313

After the cup dries completely, I tidy up the rim. Here is a “before and after” picture. You can see that the rim on the right is ready to go.IMG_7327

Now the cups are ready for the first firing. They are fired in an electric kiln to a temperature of 1840 degrees. That is hot!

When they are cool enough to unload, I sponge them off and pour in a liner glaze. Then I sign the bottom and load them up again to be fired a second time. 2170 degrees. Again…hot! Hot enough to vitrify the clay and turn the glaze material to “glass”.IMG_7391 These cups are then sanded. For you respiratory therapists out there…they are wet sanded. No dust for my lungs!

I don’t know how many of “my” original 2006 St. Luke’s people still are there to get a cup. But if you are one of those people, an extra big thank-you goes out to you. If this happens to be your first cup, I hope you enjoy using it and know, along with the others, that you are deeply appreciated.

If you are on my “short list”…my friend, my family…I am grateful that you are still, very much, a part of my life.

Happy New Year to all!

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2 Responses

  1. I love my hospital cup. It is a real beauty. Hey. I just saw your running dog teapots. Do you have anymore. I may be lookin’.

  2. Running Dog Teapot!! Where did you see that? I only made one!

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