Monday, August 8, 2016

Different Eyes

    I recently enjoyed a lengthy visit from John Dusenberry, a very dear friend from the old days, someone I'd met in high school in North Adams. I was showing him some of my recent pottery work, and pointed out one piece I wasn't really happy with -- a two-handled mug made in my last hand building class. If memory serves, this was a coil-built pot. Coil-building is not my favorite technique -- the results are never (at least from my hands) quite as elegant as I would like them to be. And this pot was my least-favorite piece from that class.

    This particular mug body was somewhat misshapen and ugly, so in a desperate attempt to make it a passable piece, I quickly made two handles and attached them to the mug body, offset on opposite sides. I told myself it could be a mug for "two-fisted coffee drinkers'. 

    Yeah, right.

    So I was showing John this piece of pottery, and he looked at it, turning it around in his hands as he examined it with his artist/designer's eye. Then he did something unexpected -- grasping the mug by one handle, he held it out for me to take, which I did, grabbing it by the other handle. 

     And with that simple gesture, John pointed out something about this piece which had completely eluded me up until that point: Having two handles on a mug nicely solves the problem of how you hand a mug filled with a hot beverage to someone else. Think about it -- if the mug is hot, how does the recipient take it in their hands? It's awkward at best, and typically, the move is for the giver to set the mug down on a flat surface and turn the handle toward the recipient.

    With two handles, that awkwardness disappears. The handover of the hot beverage is accomplished with no muss, fuss or burnt fingers.

    As I pondered this, it occurred to me that it could pave the way for what I started calling the "Love Mug" -- if you were with a person with whom you were intimate, you could easily use a mug of this configuration to SHARE a hot (or cold) beverage, passing it back and forth with ease and comfort.

    Don't get me wrong -- I am not at all saying I came up with something completely new. While I have not as yet spent any time on the Internet searching for mugs of this type, I strongly suspect that other people have stumbled upon this same idea.

    The point I'm trying to make is that sometimes a fresh perspective, especially one from a discerning individual, can make all the difference, and allow you to see possibilities you had never imagined. Sometimes different eyes are all it takes. -- PL