• Dreamers + Doers: Ian Anderson

    Dreamers + Doers highlights emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and up-and-coming ones to watch. Whether it’s starting a new business, creating something beautiful, or just daring to do things differently, we stand behind those taking steps toward something new.

    A couple months ago, we introduced you to Ian Anderson, UO men's web merchandiser by day, ceramicist by night, whose incredible cast pieces are prime examples of functional art. Ian's signature style is both minimal and unexpectedly geometric; we're proud to have him as part of the UO community. To celebrate the launch of a special collection of his handmade mugs at Urban Outfitters, we are shining the spotlight back on Ian as part of our Dreamers + Doers series, which highlights the work of independent designers, artists, and creatives who are taking steps toward doing things differently. Join us on a trip to Ian's studio at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia as as he walks us step-by-step through the detailed process of creating one of his mugs. 
    Photos by Joseph Webb

    Before — the components of a mug, deconstructed. Ian made the first mug prototype by hand and then made plaster molds for the mug body and handles to fit the original. 

    Step one: Pouring porcelain slip (clay) into a bucket for combining the materials.

    Weighing out the stain (dye) that gives the mug its color. Each one is dyed with a specific amount of stain that's exactly proportionate to the slip. 

    Diluting the stain to be soluble — the slip is extremely thick and won't combine with the stain unless it's broken down. 


    Pouring the slip into the handle and the body molds. 

    The clay sets up in the mold to form for about 20 minutes before pouring out the excess; the longer you leave it in the mold, the heftier and more dense the mug becomes. 

    Ready to open the handle molds.

    Trimming the handle. 

    After about 45 minutes, it's time to remove the mug body from the mold...

    ...very carefully.

    Ian trims the body of the mug on the wheel to make the edge completely even.

    All trimmed and ready to assemble. 

    Lining up the angle on the mug so the handle is attached at exactly a 90 degree angle. 

    Put extra slip on the handle and adhere to the body of the mug. 

    More trimming. 

    Ready to fire!

    Before (right) and after (left): the mugs shrink about 15-20 percent between dried and fired. 

    All stamped and ready to go!

    Shop Ian's mugs at UO
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