Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Extruded and Pulled Handles

As potters know, a comfortable and aesthetically balanced handle is a goal we all strive for. And for many it is a dreading part of the whole process. It is a constant learning process and now I actually enjoy pulling handles. I have kept experimenting and changing my handles to get them consistent and the shape that I want.

Since I love my extruder so much, potters at shows and online always ask me if I pull or extrude my handles. Well.. I do both. I extrude mostly for getting a consistent shape for all my handles and also it is a lot faster. But plain extrusions and result in a very lifeless handles. So then I go ahead and pull my handle.

I cut my oval shape extrusions to 5" in length. To make this a more pleasurable experience, you clean warm water for pulling. My left hand is always dry to hold the handle. Dip the handle in water and taper it with your right hand.

After tapering, I run my thumb in the center a few times to create a curve. When finished, this slight curve makes a good place for the thumb to rest.

Check the video below to see the whole process. When attaching the handle to the mug, I cut with a cookie cutter as this lets me join the mug to the curved surface of the mug without distorting it. I got that tip from Ginger Steele on one of our clay play dates.

And here is the finished result.

Below are pictures of pots from Ginger Steele and Kristen Kieffer whose handles I really admire.
Feel free to add your tips on handles in the comments.


Melissa said...

Charan, those mugs are beautiful!

Here's my tip:
Don't be afraid to attach that extruded handle to your pot and pull it from there! Handles that are pulled from the pot have a graceful transition, and can look less "stuck on" and more a part of the pot. Compress the end first by slapping it down with a finger, attach well and just pull like you normally would!

CreativewithClay: Charan Sachar said...

That is a good thought. I have tried that before, but I tend to distort my mugs when I do that as I am holding them in my hand.
I have to attach my handles when the clay is at the softer side. If it stiffened up more it would be good for pulled off the pot handles, but get too dry for my underglaze and slip decoration. Hmmm.. thinking of it may be I should try slip decoration first and then pull handles. Good food for thought!

donnae said...

Excellent information and vid, one needs all the help you can get to make the dreaded handles! Since I have an obsession with spouts (so far) I shall pass this on to my friend who has just started exploring handle world.

donnae.ca said...

Great vid & info on the dreaded handle creation. Since I am currently more obsessed with spout I shall pass this onto my friend who is just starting into handle world.
Thanks Charan.


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