Tender’s mugs are thrown by hand in a one-man pottery from naturally coloured red and white clays, dug in England. Coloured metal salt glazes seal the sides and interior, but the base is left unslipped and unglazed to expose the original character of the clay. Soft unfired clay is pushed into the sprig, which itself is made by the potter from unglazed, fired clay, then attached to the soft beaker, before being slipped, biscuit fired, glazed, and fired together.
Once the piece is thrown and cut off the wheel, the potter presses a fired clay ‘sprig’ of the Tender Plautus face into the base and rubs white clay slip into the impression. This is then scraped down, slightly distorting the Tender face in a different manner on every piece.
Sprig mugs are decorated with an applied raised design, pressed out of a hand carved ‘sprig’.
Tender’s 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 the craftsman’s fingers, make it easy and comfortable to grip. The handle is pressed onto the pot with a thumb dent at the base.
Please bear in mind that this hand-made pottery should be washed by hand, and is not suitable for microwaves, ovens, or dishwashers.