The Art of Handling: Design and Function

Pottery Handles


The shape of handles is a critical aspect of pottery, as it plays a significant role in determining the functionality, aesthetics, and comfort of a pottery piece. Handles not only serve as a practical means of gripping and lifting a pottery object, but they also contribute to its overall design and visual appeal. When shaping handles on pottery, several key considerations come into play, influencing the final form and style of the handle.


  • Comfort: The comfort of a handle is crucial, as it directly impacts the user’s experience. Handles should be designed in a way that allows for a comfortable grip, with enough space for fingers to comfortably fit without causing discomfort or strain. Consider the size and shape of the handle in relation to the size and weight of the pottery piece, and ensure that it provides a secure and ergonomic grip.
  • Functionality: Handles should be designed with the intended use of the pottery piece in mind. For example, a mug handle should be designed to comfortably accommodate fingers for gripping and lifting, while a teapot handle should allow for easy pouring and balance. Consider the angle, height, and placement of the handle in relation to the body of the pottery piece to ensure that it functions effectively in its intended use.
  • Aesthetics: The shape of the handle can greatly contribute to the overall aesthetics of the pottery piece. Handles can be designed to complement the form, style, and glaze of the pottery, adding to its visual appeal. Handles can be simple or elaborate, curvy or angular, and can be attached to the body of the pottery piece in different ways, such as pulled, applied, or carved.
  • Durability: Handles should be designed and attached securely to the pottery piece to ensure durability and longevity. They should be able to withstand regular use, washing, and handling without breaking or coming loose. Consider the thickness and attachment points of the handle, as well as the type of clay used and the firing process, to ensure that the handle is strong and durable.
  • Balance: The shape of the handle can also impact the balance of the pottery piece. Handles should be designed in a way that distributes the weight of the piece evenly, helping to maintain its balance and stability when in use or displayed. Consider the weight and size of the pottery piece, as well as the handle’s position and shape, to ensure that it remains well-balanced.
  • Personal Style: As a potter, you have the creative freedom to develop your own personal style when it comes to shaping handles. Experiment with different handle shapes, sizes, and attachment methods to develop your unique signature style that reflects your artistic vision and adds a personal touch to your pottery pieces.


In conclusion, the shape of handles is an essential element of pottery design that impacts functionality, aesthetics, durability, and personal style. Consider the comfort, functionality, aesthetics, durability, balance, and your personal artistic vision when shaping handles on your pottery pieces. With thoughtful design and attention to detail, well-crafted handles can enhance the overall quality and appeal of your pottery creations. Happy potting!