Handmade blue green mug with gold fish in ceramic stoneware, hand thrown pottery

This is an adorable small mug with a fish design in gold. Goldfish swim round the the blue green sea of glaze! Each fish, piece of seaweed, or bubble has been painted on by hand.

This gorgeous and unique mug was handthrown on a potters wheel in a buff stoneware clay. It is then left to harden up for a while, and when you handle it without it deforming, you turn it upside down and remove the excess clay from the bottom. After that you attach the handle and leave it to fully dry before it goes for its first firing.

The first firing is called bisque firing, and is to about 1000*C. The mug is not fully changed from clay to ceramic at this temperature, and it is still porous. This makes it perfect to apply a glaze to at this point, so that is what happens.

This mug has 3 glazes on it. Plain matt white on the inside and two different blues on the outside . I like to be a bit splashy with the glazes so you get unexpected patterns and interactions happening. The glaze patterns on this mug are unrepeatable since they are random, so each mug is totally unique.

When the mug comes out of the glaze firing, which is to 1250*C it is fully ceramic. Even without a glaze it would now no longer be porous since it is stoneware, and as the name suggests it is really strong and hard.

Most mugs are sold at this point, but I wanted to add some gold. I really love the combination of the quite rough and rustic buff stoneware clay, and the contrasting glamour of the gold. They are like fairy mugs to me 😁.

There is a lot of work painting the gold on after all the other stages of creation, as well as the expense of the gold itself. So they are not cheap mugs, they are one off works of art, to be loved, and make each drink a special occasion.

To achieve this they have to have a third firing. I paint the gold on in a liquid form. It is real gold – 22ct – and is very expensive. The lustre firing as it is called is a lower temperature, just 880*C. Sometimes this firing can affect the glaze colour and in this case it has turned the blues on the outside quite green.

Lustre is tricky to apply, and it is always a heart-stopping moment when you open the kiln to see if it worked, or all your time and expense has been wasted. When it works it is like lifting magic jewels out of the kiln. 😊

Because of the gold being real gold it is delicate, and this mug is not suitable for dishwasher or microwave.