A Set of Mugs
It would seem there are ways to shape clay that are easier, and many people fail to understand that a pottery wheel is not always one of them. For those who have worked clay by hand, control is not generally an issue. Once the wheel begins to turn, an unbalanced lump of clay can seem to have a mind of its own. Controlling it to create something like a set of mugs could lead to a day of frustration, or it might be a fun way to spend hours and hours on becoming more adept and creative.
Simple mugs are fairly easy to make for those experienced with using a wheel, but beginners might find their set has several different shapes and sizes. It could be frustrating as they try to correct the issue, but looking at it as a learning experience can be helpful. The need for uniformity may not be as necessary as the hopeful beginner believes. Different sizes and slightly different shapes make each piece in the set unique.
Working clay by hand is often what the youngest students are taught, and it is a skill that is useful for those creating mugs. While they may throw the cylindrical part of their creations on the wheel, it is important to shape the handles by hand. They must be solid to ensure the handles do not heat up quickly when hot liquids are added. This is a good lesson in combining different ways to work with clay to finish a particular piece.
Once the mugs have been formed, they are set on a shelf to dry before firing. Adding colourful designs and glaze is the next step, and the set will be finished after it has been fired once again. It is often an exercise for beginning students to work on this type of project, and it can lead them to a better understanding of how to work with clay successfully.