Have you ever set out to make something ugly on purpose? It can be pretty liberating. It’s a great way to remove restrictions and experiment—and you may just end up with something that is not, in fact, ugly. Dave Henry, of previous CAD video fame, provides a great way to get started with a simple mug project that you can easily tailor to your own studio, tools and imagination.

In addition to the video, we’ve put together a series of images depicting the process. They may lack the smooth, relaxing tones of Dave’s voice, but they are a nice snapshot for quick reference. Enjoy!—Sherman Hall, Ceramic Arts Daily

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Rollout a slab about half an inch thick and texture it with whatever you like. Here, Dave uses a roller to impress a patters from a piece of screen. he also presses textures like the sole of a sandal into the clay. Experiment with alot of different textures, and don’t think too much about it. The point is to make it quickly and see what new things you can discover.
Roll the slab around a cylinder that is covered with paper, making sure the texture side is facing down, so it becomes the outside surface. Dave uses a foam “noodle” used for flotation (or fun) in a pool. You could easily use a cardboard tube or a rolling pin as well. Cut both ends of the slab along the edge of the cylinder and seal the seam. You can hide the seam with more texture.
Put another small slab on the wheel and cut a circle for the base that is about half an inch wider than the diameter of the cylinder.


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Center the cylinder on the base and slip and score to attachit. Use a throwing stick inside and your hand outside to press the base and cylinder together more firmly.
Using only the throwing stick, press out from the inside of the cylinder to thin the wall and expand the texture on the outside.
Trim the cylinder to the desired height. Dave uses a fettling knife and a needle tool to get a consistent height on his mugs.
Throw the lip so it is smooth and finish it with a chamois. You can also clean up the base now, rather than trimming it later. Remember, this is an ugly mug!


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