Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two Bits......

The past week has been very busy Chez Lizzie. Our studio has been completely re organized, orders sent off to NB, and new orders started. The weather here in Cape Breton has been brutal, more storm days than I can count. But after helping the kidlet with her super cool Science Fair project this past weekend, I have jumped right back into design mode. Stay tuned for the pinhole camera post... just waiting for it to return from school.
I have been approached by a soapmaker, who is on the hunt for shaving mugs. Now, I have never made a shaving mug, not even sure that I have ever seen one in person. My ex always just used an old coffee cup. BUT I am always up for a challenge, so off I went galavanting across the internets... in search of the elusive shaving mug.
WOW! Who knew there was such debate over the the best shaving mug design. I was very quickly drawn into the whole debate. There are the simple bowl folk, the grab a mug from the cupboard and hope the wife doesn't notice type, and the true connaisseur who will accept nothing but the finest china with drain holes and pour spouts and covers to keep in the heat.  Check out this bad boy patented in 1867. Fancy!
I found it on Wikipedia. Its awesome. But more than a little complex for my taste. Just looking for something simple folks.
Now a lot of the mugs I stumbled upon, were really pretty, but not very manly. Or they were really boring, and plain. There were a few nice handmade pottery mugs and bowls out there. I looked them over and decided to head on down to the studio to come up with my interpretation of the shaving mug.

My criteria were simple:
1) must fit a 3 inch bar of shaving soap
2) must have brush holder

These first two were supplied by the soap maker- she is the expert !
The next are my own.

3) must be manly. There are far too many girly shave mugs out there.
4) must blend in with my existing line of work.
It is becoming increasingly important to me to have a recognizable feel to my pots. I am not sure where this is coming from, but its working for me, and I am going with it for now.
5) It needs to be an item I can make  quickly, and in quantity.

The first kick at the can was really pretty. I used an interpretation on the design of my whiskey cups and shot glasses.
I liked it a lot, but it was a bit too deep. Like twice as deep as it needed to be. also, the darted bottom works well as a whiskey cup, but it seems a bit curvey for the bottom of a shaving cup. As shaving cup it is a failure, but as a soup mug we have a winner. Tweaking of the handle and foot, and voila! Soup.

I posted mach one up on my FB page for feedback, and got LOTS of advice. I got measurements of antique brushes and photos of people's shaving setup with rulers for scale. It was great. I went back to the studio, and tweaked my design a bit. I think we have made some progress. I made five bowls. I played around a bit with the handles, eliminated the darts, and made a flat bottom.

I think the last one is the one. I feel really good about it. Now to fire 'em up and test them out. Going back down to the studio, and filling some more orders. Next on the agenda? More Yarn Bowls, some sugar bowls creamers and butter dishes.


  1. Lizzie these are perfect! You thought of everything! It's interesting to hear all the different things you think of before making a piece.

    I would have never thought, "how big is the soap?" I'd just be like, "Oh yep. That seems about right."

    These are really cool. Manly, but not in a stereotypical way, in a thoughtful way.

  2. Thanks Kasey! I actually had to go next door and measure my neighbours shave!

  3. oh NICE! I like the deco around the rim esp. :)

  4. Put me down for two!!! Hubby and son both prefer brush and soap to foamy stuff and haven't been able to find a decent mug for ages. Basically a short coffee mug size works best and a generous handle for man hands. Let me know when you are ready to sell.

  5. Will do Shari! I am thinking to do some with holding handles as well as brush holders.

  6. Of all the things I detest in my daily routine, shaving is at the top of the list. Hate it. But I don't want a beard, so I can't make it stop. I shave because my wife doesn't like whisker burn. Sometimes twice a day, if there's kissing in the offing.

    But I'm amazed that people still use these cups. Personally, I don't use any lube to shave. Just a sharp blade on bare skin. Fast, painless, works for me. When the blade is dull, it's not nice.

    All that said, it's good to get the measurements of soap and burshes if you're going to make these. Customers are fussy people.

  7. Mira's Papa!, I had no Idea these were so popular either, but was asked to make em, and holy cats! people are scrambling for them!