Hospital Cups! Huh?

Awhile back I…well, I uh…had a little coma. Months later, back in my studio, it was obvious that I wouldn’t be making fifty pound platters until I got some meat back on my bones. Happily I began to move the only amount of clay that I could… one half pound. I was still in a state of “overwhelmed” by my experience. Part of this was due to the tremendous amount of support I received from the people in my life. It was actually difficult to”get a grip” on the fact that so many people did so much for me. Two things solved the predicament, one being…I sat my little self down and did the one thing I could do… I made cups…dozens and dozens of little one half pound cups. Destined to end up in the hands of nurses, therapists, and doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital, plus a few other folks, these lil’ cups helped express a huge gratitude for being alive.

The next year, I took a bit of time from my summer schedule (which included 25 pound platters…hey, I’m gettin’ there) and did a repeat.

This year I changed up the form and am making a shorter, wider cup. They are porcelain and very, very thin.

These are the kinds of tools I mostly use to throw. Half of a sponge (as a teacher I highly recommend taking the scissors to those sponges). The wee Mud Tool rib…mmmmsoft. The infamous Lil’ Chizler from Bracker’s. The omnipresent half pound of clay. I don’t know why the needle tool is there…I don’t use it for these cups. Hanging up to the left, you can see the green handle of my “Dirty Girl” wire cutoff tool and the top of my torch. Aw, the torch…yes. Love fire.

I weigh out 2 pounds of clay, wedge then divide into 1/2 pound lumps, then smack them into a wee ball. See that yellow patch on the left side of my scale? That’s my Osceola Cheese Factory refrigerator magnet. A must stop on your way to the Ozarks. Got cheese? My scale, sadly does not double as a tiny refrigerator. That would be my dream studio equipment, a Scale/Frig that would keep my chocolate cool. I shall move the magnet to that green circle thing on the wall so that it can be in all my pictures!

The small ball of clay is centered.

There are many ways to open a centered ball of clay. I tend to use the sponge in my right hand to push down on my left thumb.

pull up
The wall is pulled up.

pull up 2
Up again and…

pull up 3
yet again.

After addressing the cup with the Mud rib, I torch the top 1/2 inch. Careful…torching porcelain is extra tricky! I do this so that I can…

Grab the top, push down and turn the wheel just a bit to alter. Here is a good time to mention the “Joy of the Kickwheel”. A motorized Lockerbie kickwheel…the wheel of choice among fine potters everywhere. We should start a club…(they know what I am talking about).

hospital cups
Here is a pile just out of the bisque kiln. Time to glaze and wad for the soda. Hope you enjoyed. I’ll add on a couple of more photos as they get through the process…

wadded cups
Here are a few cups with the liner glaze in and little wads glued on…ready to go into the soda kiln. Wads are made of materials that don’t melt…keeps the cup up off the shelf so that when the soda solution is sprayed into the kiln, the cups won’t fuse to the shelves.

Fired Hosp. Cups
The first batch was fired in the soda kiln. I put in several different liners and left the outsides bare porcelain. The grey color on the outside is from the soda solution that is sprayed in the kiln, the spots of blue are from the copper that is present in the glazes on other pots in the kiln. Back to work…I want to have them all finished in October!


One Response

  1. I like little cups and I cannot lie!!!!

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