Step 7 – Attaching the Handle

I can hear the groans about pulled handles resounding through cyberspace. Potters, this can be learned easily with practice.
Start with some nice, fresh clay – not reclaim. Roll out a fat coil about 1.25″ in diameter for these big mugs. If your clay starts to flatten out, twist each end in opposite directions and it will roll round again.

Now, working from both sides, firmly pat the coil into a flattened elipse. You can see the section that we want in this image… this is the general shape of the cup handle that I want on a mug like the ones we have been making.

With the serrated rib, score deeply into an area about 1″ x 1-3/4″ just to the right of the vertical join. You don’t want it sloppy wet – just scraped up a bit. If your cup, or any piece upon which that you wish to pull a handle, has begun to dry at the top and is changing color, do not attempt to pull a handle. You will have cracking! The cup will have already begun to shrink, and when the handle starts to shrink as it dries, it will pop right off. Be especially careful in summer….

Take your handle blank in your left hand (sorry, Lefties, you’ll have to reverse a lot of this) and working from the center out with short strokes, score the handle attachment plane. A nice bead of worked clay will extend over each edge if you do it right.I have just pushed the handles onto the cup bodies in the picture below. Handles WANT to stick to the cup! I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have both cup and handle at similar stages of drying is for this process to work right.

Use the tip of your finger to smooth the join where the handle meets the cup. The extra goo that was scuffed up with the rib makes it really easy. I like to set cups aside for at least 5-8 minutes so the attachment can develop.

The handles appear to be too large, but we want a nice, large base of attachement.

Here’s the handle all ready to be pulled into it’s final form.

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