Pottery Process Primer – Chapter 2 – Pugging

Once John had enough brand spanking new clay dried and rolled up and carried up the stairs to our studio, he began pugging.

A pug mill is a big, smelly, stinky machine with an auger in a tube that grinds and squeezes and mixes the new clay. It does this loudly. 

So, John grabs a large handful of new clay and throws it into this small opening then pushes the handle/door down pushing the clay into the pug mill while the auger is slowly turning and pushing the mixed clay along.

He does this over and over until enough clay comes out of this end in a log or tube of clay. He pinches the end, stands the log upright on the ledge next to the machine.

Once he has two logs, he slips a large plastic bag over them, twists the bag shut, uses a large twist-tie, and stacks it on the floor. Once that batch is done, he would move those bags of clay into out buildings, up and down stairs, for curing. Then he does it again when the next batch is dry enough to roll up, carry up the stairs and pug it.

John recycles his clay, as all clay workers do, so he’s also pugging the recycled clay to mix it with new clay on a regular basis.

Recently, John accepted the reality of aging and his knees and now the fabulous Paoli Clay in Paoli Wisconsin mixes his clay according to his clay body recipe and delivers it to us. Several of our neighbors are potters and get their clay made and delivered by Paoli, so we coordinate and share the shipping costs.

Next step: Pottery Process Primer – Chapter 3 – Wedging


2 thoughts on “Pottery Process Primer – Chapter 2 – Pugging

  1. I’m enjoying your series on what’s all involved with mixing the clay. I had no idea, even mixing the clay was that much work! In the bowls we just bought from you, we had pasta last night. The clay bowls kept the food so warm, while we were eating it!

  2. Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you are using those bowls, they like to feel needed. Really! I am writing these steps down because education about handmade, whether it’s clay or fiber or leather is important. We’ve lost touch with handmade and it feeds our soul to use something a human made for another human.

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