Introduction: How to Make Eight Cups

Okay. How to Make Eight Cups you say. Easy. Make one, make another, make a handful more, and you've got eight cups. Not so fast. I might be new here, but you didn't think that it would be that straightforward, did you (after my last one – ? I'm pretty big on concept. And making concept cool.

How to Make Eight Cups is a conceptual exercise in making, in seeing how objects come to life, in understanding the line of how much you bring to an object, and how much the object can remain ambiguous. The exercise is fairly simple. But it asks a lot of questions. And even provides some answers.

Step 1: Get Yourself Some Material

Find yourself some material, which should be fairly uniform in consistency. You should be pretty familiar with working in this medium. The process goes a lot cooler if it's less experimental in learning how to use the material, and more about getting deep into the conceptual exercise itself.

Once you've got the material, divide it in to eight uniform pieces. In my case, I've got a little extra.

I'm going to be doing the demo in wood. So I have this great block of cherry that I'll be preparing. In my case, on the lathe, I'll be marking my centers, and trimming down the edges.

Oh, I should say, make sure you read this all the way through first...

Step 2: Make Your First Cup

Make a cup. When you start making your cup, set a timer. When the cup is finished, stop the timer. Divide the time that it took to make this cup into 8 equal units. This will be your module of time. Materially dependent, the material is finished when the form work is complete. Patina, stain, glaze, etc. is not a part of this exercise.

Materially dependent, please limit your tool use to as few as possible. Because I'll be working with wood, I'm going to turn my cups on a lathe. I'll just be using the lathe, a few cutting tools, and some sandpaper. Also, materially and process dependent, these instructions are subject to change according to the needs and constraints of the process, and the individual operating the process. Some techniques need other things, or have different requirements. It's cool, because in many ways, this is about following both the letter and the spirit of the rules at the same time. It's interesting to think about the constraints, what's involved, and what you need.

The cup must have an inside and an outside, and must be able to contain some amount of liquid. Other than that, the cup can be any projected imaginative expression of cup that you want. Cool.

Step 3: Make the Next Cup. and the Next.

Make the next cup in 7/8 of the amount of time it took to make the first cup. And then the one after that in 6/8, 5/8, 4/8, 3/8, 2/8, and finally, 1/8 the amount of time. It's really important to remember – please try and not work faster. You want to be as consistent as possible in your making.

And remember, The cup must have an inside and an outside, and it must be able to contain some amount of liquid.

Step 4: Little Things to Remember.

Each cup should be the same (form, scale, etc.) in intention. The cups can be made on any timeline. Once you have started to make a cup, however, that cup should be finished in one session.And

Step 5: And So!

You're done. Cool right? Think about the cups as a group. Maybe have eight people over for drinks or tea and see how things are different between people using the cups. Take pictures! Show them to me! This is a cool exercise for makers, because you can see how things change, and when they change, and you can try and figure out what it all means.