It has been nearly 1000 years since I updated this blog. I expect to stay very close to that same schedule in the future.
Here is picture proof of the evolution of my Pony mugs AND NOW Green Dragon mugs!
I am using a new stamp for both medallions. Greater detail that shows up very nicely when washed with manganese.
The goblets are dwarf-themed. Sturdy, stocky and geometric in its surface treatment. Elf-themed goblets will soon follow.
Also you will find a photo of the mallorn plate with which I am working. Soon there will be bowls and drink ware to accompany the mallorn
These items and others, can be found on my moderately successful etsy site. https://www.etsy.com/shop/FunctionalMud
I am very happy with my first batch of Prancing Pony mugs. These are a handful of mugs inspired by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and the cinematic vision of peter Jackson as seen the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings films.
This first batch of mugs range from 8 ounces to 16 ounces. Unless otherwise specifically requested, the next batch mugs and all Prancing Pony mugs that follow will be 16 ounces. “This, my friend, is a pint.”
The green glaze is rustic with slight undertones of brown showing through. The blue glaze is very deep with slight variations in hue and the one I will call Albany brown has beautiful and random variations. I think it too seems to have a rustic feel to it.
I have an etsy site up and running for interested parties who wish the obtain, through purchase, an amazing Prancing Pony mug. https://www.etsy.com/shop/FunctionalMud
You could be the coolest person (or hobbit, or dwarf, or geek) in Middle earth if you had one of the fine pieces of pottery.
For two years in a row I was called upon to teach a Face Jug lesson to my fellow at teacher. I found this a very different experience than teaching middle or high school students this same lesson. The most notable was that the classroom was very quite and the (adult) students were very focused.
Anyways, here are the results of my instructional pieces from each session. They each took about 6 hours to create before the firing and glazing process.
The first piece I was quite pleased with. I believe I captured the spirit of the Face Jug better than the following years’ jug. The second one I think I put too much into it. It lacks the simplicity I prefer in my pottery.
I have seen face jugs in numerous shops in and around Seagrove, NC. Some are very subtle and some are crazy and whimsical. They are all impressive and well crafted.
Here is my attempt to replicate a couple of ancient oil lamps. The terra cotta piece inspired me when I saw numerous case-fulls of Romanesque, Byzantine and Etruscan oil lamps at the MET last summer. The oil lamp actually works, though it burns with a very dark smoke. I will perhaps one day try to burn it with olive oil, though I imagine the smoke will be even darker than the generic lamp oil I purchased. The blue piece on the wick is not mine, it came with the wick.
The other lamp is inspired by a Roman/Byzantine piece I saw on the internet while researching some other pieces. I have not yet attempted to light it. I am guessing that a flay wick lays in the spout/trough thing. It seems though that it would produce a wildly unmanageable flame. My lamp is a nearly exact replica of what I found online, but being it is an ancient piece, the original may be missing an important flame suppressing device that is not included with mine.
My father has indulged me in my Tolkien appreciation. Using a toy he purchased about a year ago, he created out of wood a Prancing Pony sign and a Green Dragon sign from the Lord of the Rings films. These two signs are each put together like a puzzle with one piece fitting inside the other until the entire image is complete. I do not believe the photos do them justice to how intricate and well made they are. The designs themselves are taken from the images posted around the internet, mainly from Weta workshop art and movie props from Lord of the Rings. Each sign is about 11 inches by 17 inches and looks great on our kitchen walls.
The Prancing Pony mugs are a co-creation by my father and I. The stamp on the mug was created by my father using the same toy he used to create the signs. The stamp is made from acrylic and is itself a little work of art. Each letter is individually cut out and glued to a backing. I throw the form, trim the piece if necessary and then pull and attach the handle. I then roll out a thin piece of clay, dust it with baking powder and stamp the Prancing Pony image into the clay. I attach the stamped clay onto the mug and apply a wash of iron oxide to bring out the detail. Bisque firings and glaze firing follow and lo and behold! a mug from the Prancing Pony. Each mug hold about a pint
I am currently drinking hot tea out of the green mug as I type this.
Here is my latest attempt to update and showcase my pottery on this blog. It sometimes feels like a full time job gets in the way of hobbies.
Some of the pieces on the “recent works” page we created when Ada and I were at a 2 week workshop at Penland School of Arts and Crafts this past summer. I was very honored to receive the Antony Swider scholarship to attend. We had a wonderful time learning, seeing, and creating.
Other pieces are a result of my ever increasing geekiness towards the works of author JRR Tolkien and filmmaker Peter Jackson. The Gandalf cups (as my wife and I have come to refer to them) were inspired by the scene in Peter Jackson’s film Fellowship of the Rings where Gandalf rides to Minas Tirith, goes into the dusty archive and does a bit of research on the history of Isildur and the One Ring. In a brief shot, he is seen drinking from a beautifully simple but very functional cup. I liked the simplicity of the form so I have tried my skill at creating a few of them. My wife and I find that they fit quite well to the hand.
A good way to start the day is with a gentle “Namaste” to your partner.