Can a Bird be a Mug?

With encouragement from staff at the Gallery of BC Ceramics I have made some bird mugs. Earlier this year I made a few mugs which were not any specific bird, just a jolly combination of greens with white chest and red spots. They have a little beak which is not a spout but otherwise take just as long to make and paint as my jugbirds do. I wondered if anybody would buy them if I priced them similarly.

Pileated Woodpecker mugs

Now I have produced just two each of my popular Pileated Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers and Red Cardinals as mugs rather than jugs.

Northern Flicker mugs





Red Cardinal mugs

Along with three of the earlier mugbirds I shall offer them for sale in the Gallery of BC Ceramics’ new concept show ‘You Snooze, You Lose!’ which will take place for three separate weeks in August. The idea is that folks who buy the special pots on display at each opening will be permitted to take them home right away. Hence – you snooze, you lose! The staff anticipate Gallery members will bring in unique pieces – so you’re warned. These may be the only mugbirds I make.. for a while, and they will be properly priced.

six little yunomis/handle-less cups


I made some more of the little yunomis, off the hump, and spent hours painting them with my coloured slips. It’s clear that I do this for my own enjoyment and not for mass production but it is gratifying when they leave the gallery with collectors, for who knows where. There is a spotted coupe/plate which matches two of the yunomis .. just because.


The other plate was made with Wonder White earthenware clay, from Georgie’s Clay Co. in Portland, Oregon. Totally Ceramics in Surrey brings it in for us. I intend to use it for the plates and platters that I make for my ‘Raiders’ from here on. And I now have a large bucket of Tony Hansen’s Clear cone 04 Glaze, G1916Q for use with that clay.



On the green and yellow plate I have applied two new slips, using the Wonder White clay, ceramic stains and a little frit.  There are touches of orange underglaze too. Note that sgraffito lines are now white instead of the red that I’m used to. The slips I have for all the work made with D’Arcy’s Redart clay do not behave well on white clay at all. So I shall continue to stick with my favourite red clay and my twenty or so coloured slips and use Deb’s Clear glaze for them.

Yesterday I went in to Vancouver to deliver some of this work, plus some new large terra sigillata-coated mugs to the Gallery of BC Ceramics on Granville Island, and one large Pileated Woodpecker jugbird to Circle Craft Co-op for their celebratory Summer Show. They are showing special work by past and present members to celebrate the 45 years the Co-op has been in existence.

When I make mugs or jugs I like to pull sturdy, wide handles from the pot. They are joined below the top lip and are shaped for comfort and confidence in use. Here are two photos showing how my fingers fit in the handles.

Two finger handle







Room for three fingers in the Red Cardinal mug




On my way in to Vancouver I stopped at Mina’s house in Strathcona to leave all the recent Raiders’ plates with her so I imagine they’ll be collecting them from her shortly. Thanks for cappuccino and showing me your lovely heritage house and some of your art collection, Mina.



Now I know that I must be much more productive as the galleries need more work for the tourist season, but also I want to make more plates etc for the next Raids. I do enjoy those days when like-minded folks come out to the ‘burbs to play!


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