After a Thanksgiving open studio of throwing 200+ cups, this past week was full of trimming and handle pulling. The November 25 open studio was a major draw for Malvern alums, almost all of whom did ceramics when they were students. The cups that resulted from this past weekend range from beginning level to masterfully crafted pieces. We have spent many hours this week trimming those pieces in and out of class.

Trimming a ceramic piece is the last step in the formation of the piece. It can make or break a piece—literally. Nothing is more pleasing than finding a perfectly centered cup that is not too dry or too wet, and trimming it down to create a beautiful foot.  

The first thing a good ceramic artist does when looking at a mug or bowl is to turn it over and look at the foot. A trim job can be the trademark of a good potter. It is fun to have some of the all-time great Malvern potters come back and throw cups because they are always super-easy to trim. We always love watching and learning the best trimming techniques from past Malvern grads such as Kevin Bogan ’09, Walter McDonald ’17 or Joe Martin ’15. Everyone has slightly different techniques that can be identifiable by their own personal twist on trimming.  Martin always has a very prominent foot that protrudes from the rest of the cup, while Bogan has very shallow feet because the cup is already so thin and light.  

No matter who is trimming the cup, we all have the same goal of making the cup more appealing. When trimming a cup we are taking away what does not belong and improving the quality of the piece. As a team, we are trying to make the quality of every single cup a little bit better.

The five Art & Advocacy students have been able to learn from the best and adapt our own techniques to help better our ceramic work. On Saturday, December 2, we met with Villa Maria Academy and the student leaders on their team who will work with us going forward with our Cups for Caritas project. We are excited to have them join us and see what interesting elements they can bring to the table.