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Published Jun 12, 2020

Handbuilt Handles

Handles can be the bane of a potter's existence—at least they are for me a lot of the time (including yesterday). So I am always happy when I learn new ways of approaching them.

Today, in an excerpt from Gail Kendall's DVD From Plate to Tureen: Slab and Coil Building, Gail shows us three great handle techniques (including the handles on the tureen below). This DVD was so fun to watch because Gail has such a good sense of what her material can and cannot do. She definitely has me inspired to try her slab/coil techniques—and this clip in particular has cured my "handle block." - Jennifer Poellot Harnetty, editor.

This clip was excerpted from From Plate to Tureen: Slab and Coil Building with Gail Kendall, which is available the Ceramic Arts Network Shop!

Handbuilt HandlesTo learn more about Gail, or to see more images of her work, visit her website here:

Additional Handbuilt Handle Techniques

Click here for a super easy way to get the pulled handle look without pulling the handle!

Pottery Handle Techniques: A Handle Should Be No Longer/Larger Than It Needs To Be

A good side handle on a cup, mug, pitcher, or teapot should not stick out from the form any further than it has to in order to fit one, two, three, or four fingers (your choice) without your knuckles touching the surface of the vessel. Or to put it in more practical terms, a side handle should never move the hand further from the center of gravity than is necessary. My favorite design for a mug handle is one that comfortably fits two fingers, with the other two outside the handle helping to support the weight. Too often we see oversized handles that move the hand further from the center of gravity and make it harder to support the vessel.

Attaching Handles to Mugs

Rather than attaching handles to mugs when they are really wet, allow the handle to set up so its moisture content is equivalent to the cup it’s being attached to.Finish the piece by scoring and slipping the areas of attachment on both the handle and the cup and joins the two. Clean up any visible slip or excess clay from the scoring, being careful not to overwork the handle or the area of attachment.

**First published in 2014.