Introducing Libby Ballard
I thought I'd introduce some of the makers who created the wonderful mugs listed on the site. Seeing as we're feeling very wintry now, best to start with some of the most coziest mugs around. Libby's focus is comfort, and she's got it down to a T - cupping them in your hands holding them close to your face to feel the warmth of the hot chocolate is an absolute joy. I swear it tastes better when you are enjoying the whole experience taking in the texture, weight and warmth of the mug, enhances the smell and taste of a drink.
Libby's designs are inspired by walks as well as sketching and photography. She then goes to the wheel and experiments. New shapes appear and a collection is born. The collections we have in Throw are inspired by The Isle of Wight where she grew up, and her love for the coast line.
The process of making a mug is incredibly labour intensive and takes several days. She starts by 'wedging' the clay a process of blending different clays together. She then weighs out balls of clay to throw with. Each ball is then thrown individually and left to harden over night. The next day she trims the bases and adds handles. These then need to be left to slowly dry over a few days. Next they go into first firing which takes 48 hours in total and get to a whopping 1010degrees! Each mug has to be hand sanded and the glaze is applied being careful to wipe any from the base. They then go in for their second firing to an even higher temperature of 1260 degrees for another 48 hours... once the kiln is cool enough the mugs are ready for their new homes. Phew!
Every process is completely essential even down to the glaze which is Libby's special mix which she has fine tuned over the years.
Her mugs are made in her Bristol studio which I visited when collecting the mugs. It's a lovely space with large windows letting in the bright sunshine and giving the space a warm glow. I have admired her mugs for a while, so was thrilled to make contact and have her agree to stock my online shop. I was particularly drawn to her Travel mugs with the silicone lid and contrasting brightly coloured fabric band absolutely perfect for on the go in the colder months.