Gallery, Studio, and Life: 57, How do you hold your cup?

How was your week?  You may have read that I am in Portugal participating in a clay mentorship with Tony Clennell and David Treub.  We have been in the studio by 9 most mornings and work until just before the dinner hour of 8pm.  Yes, we do step away from our pottery wheels to talk about ceramics, ride bikes, or take a walk. This week, we talked about how do we hold a cup.  When was the last time you thought about how you hold a mug, wine glass, or tumbler?

In the Studio:

We have begun making our own clay work.  Tony continues to make his forms.  We interact and ask questions.  We have daily critiques with our classmates and Tony.  As I look around the studio, everyone is pushing themselves in new ways.  The main objective is to go home with new processes in our heads to continue in our private studios.

Jugs by Tony Clennell

Squared vase

Max making a large clay vessel

Life in Portugal:

We took a field trip yesterday two hours north to Redondo.  We visited Jose Baerta. A potter who makes anything from dishes for daily life to huge wine jars.  He had a dog that wandered in and around the studio.  The studio was like a step back in time.  The kiln was huge.  I didn’t hear how often he fires it.  He does use wood palettes for his wood source.  Then, we had lunch at a small restaurant near by that had huge wine jars sounding the perimeter of the room.  Tony mentioned that because they were made of stoneware that wasn’t glazed, over time they become a dark brown color from the red wine leaching through the clay body.  After lunch, we visited a museum housing the largest and most important collection of tiles in Portugal.  The museum  is housed in the Tocha Palace. It is a beautiful building with an amazing tile collection, both historical and contemporary.  I appreciated the historic tiles but really loved the sculpture and abstract tiles displayed.

Jose Baeta pottery studio

Jose baeta pottery studio


David trying his skills on the wheel

Huge wine jars in Estremoz

Lunch in estremoz

Tile museum

Bernardo estremoz museum

Contemporary sculpture and tiles at Bernardo estremoz muesum

David and Natasha drove a lot of miles to share beautiful landscape, Portuguese art and history, and of course their culture.  We finished off the day with another fabulous meal and of course great wine.  It was very generous of them to spend the day on the road.

Portuguese wine

Sautéed Cod in Olive OIl and potatoes

Getting back to where I started, how do you hold your coffee cup?  I use two fingers inside of the handle.  Does your elbow go out when you tip the cup up?  For most guys, your elbow goes out and up.  For most women, we keep our limbs close to our body.  Check it out and send me a message letting me know how you hold your cups.

Take care, C2

Woman holding a handmade mug

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