Part of a new line of dinnerware designed exclusively by us, this hand-thrown porcelain mug is finished with a clear glaze so the natural color of the fine white clay shows through. The mug is 4" high and 3.25" in diameter. (
The Kaufmann Mug is made of fine porcelain clay and finished with a clear glaze that allows the natural white color to shine through. Each is hand-thrown by expert ceramicists working in a small, eight-person studio in Oregon. The form balances both contemporary and classic details, with a simple coupe shape finished by a more formal flared rim. Pouring fresh brewed coffee into this graceful mug will become a welcome morning ritual; filling it with warm herbal tea will create a sense of pause and calm.
To make each mug, a ceramicist weighs out almost two pounds of clay, then kneads it until all the fine particles point in the same direction, making the material easier to manipulate. It’s then thrown onto a potter’s wheel and shaped by hand. The delicate rims and edges are tuned with shaping tools. “A lot of making these dishes is muscle memory,” says the ceramicist. “Porcelain is finicky and requires skill to hand-throw. Your body starts to understand how the piece will form over time.”
Once formed, the mug is moved into a sauna-like room where the air is kept moist so the piece can dry slowly and evenly. There’s a small window of time to remove the mug, when it is not so soft that it will warp or so hard that it will crack. Experienced potters have a keen sense of when to transfer their ceramics to the kiln. The exact amount of time that a mug spends drying is dependent upon the local weather conditions, taking only eight hours in the humid summer and up to five days during a cold, dry winter. “There’s no physical way to rush the process,” the ceramicist explains. “Each mug must be bone dry, or the porcelain can shrink too fast and create an explosion in the kiln.”
Next, the mugs are moved to the kiln and bisque-fired at 1,940 degrees Farenheit for 11 hours, and slowly dried for almost 20 more. Once removed, the glazing process begins. Each mug is sanded to remove any marks from the ceramicist’s sponge, then carefully wiped down, as remaining dust trapped under the glaze could create surface discrepancies. The mugs are dipped in a clear glaze that protects the porcelain while letting its natural white color show. Then, they go back into the kiln for a second firing, this time for nine hours at 2,167 degrees. A long cooling period prevents the mugs from cracking. “It’s an old way of making work,” notes the ceramicist.
While this porcelain mug can be cleaned in the dishwasher, we recommend hand washing to extend its life. Safe for use in oven and microwave. Do not place the mug over an open flame or expose it to sudden changes in temperature, such as moving directly from microwave to refrigerator.
Please note that variance among mugs and within the glaze is normal; it is part of the beauty of the product. Each one is slightly different, giving character, texture and life to the organic form. That said, the size will be within a quarter inch of the original measurements.
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