I help Cathey out when I can, and one of my responsibilities is doing the salamander mugs. We were asked to create one by a friend, and it turned out so cool I thought I would make a couple more. Basically I add clay then take away anything that doesn’t look like a salamander. Cathey does the tough part; turning a standard mug on the wheel; she then added an extruded handle and let it set overnight.

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I’m going to be working one of the extra extrusions to form the body of the salamander.

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Salamanders like their bellies scratched!

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Add just a little bit of water and the salamander body sticks well to the handle.

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The tail is shaped separately:

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I cut a bevel on the end of his┬ábody, then a matching bevel on the tail. It’s then attached to the mug in a nice swirl.

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I’m not too concerned with the details of the body and tail as I prefer to do the final shaping at the leather-hard stage. Next I roll out four legs and flatten the ends to eventually become the feet.

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Look Ma -legs!

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I’ll do a bit more shaping then add the final touch at this stage: eyes. Eyes are simply a little ball of clay sliced in half, then added to the head.

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I’ll let the mugs harden overnight and tomorrow I’ll come back and carve the details. Till then…

OK – mugs have dried enough to firm up, allowing me to handle them without “smooshing” them. Leatherhard clay holds details much better…

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Next they will get fired and on to glazing in Part 2.