Introduction: How to Make a Sake Cup Out of Clay
After making about 70 of these for a Sushi bar commission, I developed a series of steps in an attempt to make them all the same. Which is really hard when hand pinching clay! It has a mind of it's own I tell ya. No two are exactly the same. Wabi Sabi all the way.
Watch the video for the sped up version of the steps below...
Step 1: Weigh Out and Shape Clay
If you are going to make a bunch, Weigh out a ball of clay. I used a postal scale, mine were 4.5oz
Or, you can just eyeball it if you're only making a few.
I used natural Bee Mix mid fire clay, Use any clay you like that will be food safe when fired.
Shape into a cylinder, like a big fat coil. I roll it on the table and drop it on either side to make the ends flat.
Step 2: Poke a Hole in the Cylinder and Open It Up
I used a tool to poke a hole in the center almost all the way to the bottom, just large enough to get a finger in to pinch. If you use your thumb to make the hole, like you would for a pinch pot, your cups will end up short and squat. You want to keep the shape tall and thin, and not overwork the clay.
So with your thumb in the cup, pinch the side walls so they are even, no lumps! Keep turning it in your hand as you pinch. If you work on it while it sits on the table, the bottom will get flatter and flatter =(
Then round the bottom a little so it's not so square. you can roll the edges on the table to soften them up too.
Step 3: Now the Fun Part, Roll It on the Edge of a Table
With your forefinger in the cup lightly press and roll back and forth along the edge of the table. Be sure not to have it hang over the edge or you'll get lines in the clay. See video for how to
Roll until you like the thickness of the sides
Step 4: Finish It Up
Lastly, drop it on the table a couple times to make the bottom flat, no one likes a tippy cup.
You can also drop it on the rim to flatten it out and make it even, any spots that are too fat on the rim can be shaved off with a tool, or pinched.
I like to pinch the rim of the cup thinner than the rest of it, because it gives the illusion of a really nice thin cup, but it is still sturdy all around.
Scratch your name on the bottom, let dry thoroughly and fire it up!
After they were bisque fired I used brush on glazes for cone 6. I poured and dipped the rims in blue and brushed metallic over to make it run and drip. Check out the glaze company websites for glaze combos, and they will show which ones run and which stay stable. Aamaco and Mayco make some nice colors for cone 6, sometimes they will show what they look like at cone 10 too. Most community studios and colleges fire at cone 10, make sure your glaze and clay temps match for best results.