Big orders don’t scare Bill Earhart.

The Bend potter, 55, said he learned his trade throwing 200 to 300 pots a day, so the haul of 875 mugs he churns out for the Pole Pedal Paddle does not seem out of the question. Earhart estimated that he and his friend Lynn Rothan, a ceramist and painter, took hundreds of hours over several months to produce the handmade mugs, which serve as trophies for all competitors who finish in the top three of their division in the PPP.

“I would say, I have to pick up each mug 20 or 30 times, do different little things,” Earhart said Friday. “It probably takes 15 minutes a mug, if you divide it all out. I could throw a mug on the potter’s wheel, and it will take me less than two minutes. The other stuff takes longer to coordinate.”

Earhart said he has been making the PPP mugs since 1997. (Before that, Mitch and Michelle Deaderick, a couple from Sisters, produced the hand-made prizes.)

Each and every mug awarded is a bit different, but Earhart said the 2018 mugs have a more “modern” look; he described them as taller and skinnier than the mugs of past years, with updated colors thanks to new glazes he has incorporated.

“I’m constantly evolving my style,” Earhart said. “Every year we try to improve. It’s an ongoing conversation, like most artists have, so the work changes over time. I think my favorite is always the stuff that I’m doing right now.”

—Victoria Jacobsen

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