Tender’s coffee mug is hand thrown in England from natural red clay dug in England. It is slipped with natural white English clay, and left unslipped and unglazed on the base, to reveal the original character of the mud. The white slip is hand engraved and glazed with coloured salts.
Throwing pots by hand involves drawing the desired form up from a single solid spinning lump of clay. Tender’s Master Potter works the clay directly with his bare hands, so each piece is unique and bears the marks of his fingers and thumbs. Rather than casting the handle from slip (watered down wet clay), which would enable uniform and quick mass-production, it is traditionally hung. This involves squeezing a lump of solid clay out into a strip which the potter allows to hang through his fingers, creating a naturally pleasant shape to hold. The ridges on the handle, formed by the creases in craftsman’s fingers, make it easy and comfortable to grip. The handle is pressed onto the pot with a thumb dent at the base.
Sgraffito mugs are hand-incised before being glazed, picking out the scratches through the slip to the darker red clay as black. This ancient technique was used by the Romans to create frescos. Each piece is engraved entirely by hand, using just a pointed wooden stylus, so is slightly different from the next. The illustration is taken from a 19th Century American advertisement encouraging prospectors to hurry to Nevada where they would find unparalleled wealth. This gold rush coincided with, and possibly caused, the development of jeans, and the Elephant with his magic boots is woven into Tender’s clothes labels.
Please bear in mind that this hand-made pottery should be washed by hand, and is not suitable for microwaves, ovens, or dishwashers.