Handmade pottery mugs are produced through a seven-part process that utilizes a potter's wheel, a kiln, clay, water, pottery tools and a glaze that helps to protect the finished mug from cracking.
To make a mug, about 1 ½ pounds of pottery clay is kneaded until all of the air pockets in the clay have been released. The clay is then formed into a ball. The ball of clay is then placed in the center of the potter's wheel, over the bat or cover in the middle of the wheel. Water is used to ensure that the clay adheres to the bat or cover.
The potter's wheel is turned on. As it spins, the potter uses her thumb to make a hole in the center of the clay. As the wheel continues to spin, she guides the clay around the wheel, transforming the clay into the shape of a mug. If a potter's wheel is not available, the potter uses her thumbs and fingers to shape the clay into the form of a mug. A piece of clay is then formed into the handle of the mug, which is then placed onto the desired side of the mug.
Any designs that the potter wants to embellish the mug are then applied to the mug using tools. The glaze is then applied to the surface of the mug, and the mug is allowed to air dry. Finally, the mug is put into a hot kiln to ensure that it retains its shape and is fit to be filled with hot or cold liquids.