Russian Helmet Mug

The teacher said we can make anything

Posted by Andrew Pun on July 14, 2020

Last fall, I took a material arts class for school. After learning the basics of ceramics, our first assignment was to make a mug out of clay, and we were allowed to be as creative as possible (as an art class should be. The teacher was awesome by the way).

Logically, I made my mug resemble a Soviet Russian helmet.


The mug is admittedly, very large and heavy, but still useable. I used the coil method (stacking rings of clay on top of each other and blending them together to create a cylindrical shape) to make the main part of the mug.

The MASKA mug compared to a regular mug. The MASKA mug before it was fired and glazed.

The base of the mug was just a long slab of clay rolled into a cylinder. I did this to accommodate the visor, which was supposed to hang off of the edge of the mug slightly.

Bottom of the mug. Mug without the lid. The inside of the mug. The inside of the mug when it was not fired nor glazed.

The visor was a separate piece rolled from clay which I scored and put on the front of the mug using some slip. No, you cannot flip up the visor, unfortunately.

The handle was made of small clay rectangles that were also scored and put together. I should just be thankful that it’s able to hold the weight of the mug.

Side view. Side view before firing and glazing. More comfortable than it looks.

I built the lid of the mug using the coil method as well. This time, I created a dome shape instead of a cylindrical shape, sort of like a shallow bowl. I also had to add a small lip around the bottom of the lid so that it would actually stay on the mug. It was basically a ring of clay that I added on the bottom of the dome. Unfortunately, I didn’t bother to score it, so the edges are cracked.

This is why you score your stuff. Listen to your teachers, kids.

On the top of the lid, I added a little clay nub, which, on the real helmet, serves as a metal hook for the visor so that it stays in place when in the upwards position. However, on my mug, it’s merely for decoration, although it kind of doubles as a handle for lifting off the lid.

The lid's handle. The lid being lifted off before the mug was fired or glaze was added.

The colour I used was created from a combination of black and lime-coloured glaze, which turned out darker than I intended, but it still looks alright. The slit in the visor is just black glaze.

This was my first clay project that I made, and I’m pretty happy with how it came out.