Creature Mug


Products Used

  • Low-fire clay body
  • SC-6 Sunkissed, SC-11 Blue Yonder, SC-15 Tuxedo, SC-24 Dandelion, Sc-37 Ivory Towers, SC-73 Candy Apple Red, SC-75 Orange-A-Peel

Decorating Accessories

  • AC-213 Lg. Sponge on a Stick, MT-002 Wood Grain

Additional Materials

  • Rolling Pin, Canvas Fabric, Empty Jar, Needle Tool, Wooden Tool, Paper, Tape, 1/4" Wooden Slats

Download Lesson Plan 


wp081 hand made cat mjug
Designer: Nathan Klein
Techniques: Hand-building, Slab Building, Glaze Application
Course Length: 1 Week (allow for drying time and firing)
Level: Elementary/Intermediate


Art (Ceramics) + Language Arts/Literature (Character Studies)

This lesson focuses on beginning technical skills for elementary and middle school age students for ceramic comprehension, as well as creative animal ideas for functional ceramic ware. Students will hand-build a simple pinch pot/slap pot, and then transform it into a "Creature Mug" by adding features such as faces, wings, tales, feet, and other details. Students will have the opportunity to make their own creature ceramic mugs using influences by characters from their favorite children's books or their own imaginations.

Before hand-building, they will be asked to write about who their creature will be; including what they will look like, its name, personality traits, and small details to make it their own. This exercise will help them to understand the importance of developing a piece of artwork from beginning to end, like an author creates a character in a story. They will study how ceramic artists and authors develop ideas from who and what will be made, and how that character or animal has meaning.


National Visual Art Standards (6-8)

VA:Cr1.1.5a: Combine ideas to generate an innovative idea for art-making.
VA:Cr1.2.5a: Identify and demonstrate diverse methods of artistic investigation to choose an approach for beginning a work of art.
VA:Cr1.1.6a: Combine concepts collaboratively to generate innovative ideas for creating art.
VA:Cr1.2.6a: Formulate an artistic investigation of personally relevant content for creating art.

Project Instructions


  1. Wrap a piece of copier paper around empty glaze jar and tape it so that it remains around the jar. This will act as a resist for next steps.
  2. With a rolling pin on canvas, roll out piece of moist clay ¼” thick between wooden slats.
  3. Cut out a rectangle that is about 5”x14” from the slab. The size of the slab will depend on the size of the jar. *An empty Mayco Stoneware jar was used in the picture.
  4. Using the paper wrapped jar, wrap the slab around the exterior of the jar and slip and score the ends together. If there is any overhang, then use a needle tool to cut off excess clay.
  5. Once the seam is slipped and scored together, remove the jar and paper from inside the clay cylinder. Take care to clean up the seam line on the inside by adding a coil or smoothing it out with a wooden tool.
  6. Pinch together four legs to create a base for the creature you are creating. *Note: If there is an opening where the legs are pinched together, a small slab can be cut and placed to completely seal the base.
  7. Using a small ball of clay, form a pinch pot into a head and attach it by slipping and scoring it to the body.
  8. Add details to your creature like eyes, nose, and ears with little balls of clay.
  9. Using a coil, attach a tail that can also function as a handle.
  10. Allow creature mug to completely dry and bisque fire to cone 04.


  1. Begin with properly fired shelf cone 04 bisque. Moisten a clean sponge and wipe bisque to remove any dust.
  2. Apply 3 coats of SC-37 Ivory Tower to the head and the outside of the body.
  3. On the rim and inside of the mug, brush on 3 coats SC-24 Dandelion.
  4. Using AC-213 Large Sponge on a Stick, load the sponge with SC-6 Sunkissed. Tap SC-6 Sunkissed onto the MT-002 Wood Grain, then press the mat gently onto the body and head of the cat.
  5. Using AC-213 Large Sponge on a Stick, load the sponge with SC-75 Orang-A-Peel. Tap SC-75 Orange-A-Peel onto the MT-002 Wood Grain, then press the mat gently onto the body and head of the cat.
  6. Apply 3 coats of SC-11 Blue Yonder to the eyes and fish charm.
  7. Apply a dot of SC-15 Tuxedo to the pupil of the eye.
  8. On the nose, collar, and mouth, apply 3 coats of SC-73 Candy Apple Red.
  9. Using SC-15 Tuxedo, add details to mouth, whiskers, and nose.
  10. Stilt and fire to cone 05/06.