These are the glazed octopi framed by turtles.  One (curling tentacles) has already shipped.  I'll put the other one on the site later today.  This design was a request.  I enjoy thinking through new designs very much.  The process is quite lengthy for me since I don't draw particularly well--my training ( and it's extensive) is in literature not in art.  If the subject is native (Northern New England /Adirondacks) I spend a lot of time outside observing.  My studio, in the woods near Oseetah Lake, receives many visitors of the winged and 4 footed varieties. But I also look at photgraphs--wildlife photography either professional or sometimes my own.  Then I look at line drawings and woodcuts.  I have to be able to see the figure on the mug--sizing can  be an issue.  Then the patterning of black and white needs to suggest itself. And the syntax here is deliberate.  I find when I try to force a design, it almost always fails.  The patterning comes--in dreams,while I'm paddling, while I'm driving (dangerous). It requires a simplification of form that is hard to translate from the living subject.  Because I am interested in more of a woodcut style of carving, a superfluity of lines can distract from the overall design. And I carve when the clay is fairly soft still.  It is possible to achieve a detailed graphic quality on clay, but it requires a pot closer to bone dry and very delicate tools (dental tools for example).  Sgraffito of this type takes a great deal of time and can create a lot of silica dust.  

I like my octopus.  If you have any suggestions or requests I am always open to thinking through new designs