My work as a ceramic artist has always been firmly rooted in the idea that the origins of clay objects are functional in nature. My work is almost exclusively functional, and while I have explored many ways to bring sculptural aspects to my pieces, the core idea of each one is that it can be used in some way. To this end, I have always enjoyed making mugs. They provide a sculptural and compositional challenge, and because there are so many options and decisions to make as an artist I find making them extremely satisfying. How to shape the body of the mug, how much liquid it might hold, how to shape and where to place the handle…these are all options I have played around with throughout the years, as I have refined my own personal style and come ever closer to a more successful mug. It is very satisfying to create a form that either myself or someone else feels a strong connection to, and it is wonderful to think about the number of people out there using a mug I made!
Everyone has a favorite mug, whether it fits your hand just right, holds just the right amount of tea, reminds you of a comforting place or time, or the colors make you feel happy. I try to keep a variety of shapes in my repertoire so that each individual has the opportunity to make a connection to a mug, and lately I’ve been experimenting with handwarmer mugs. These mugs have a “pocket” to slip your hand into instead of an open handle. Sculpturally challenging, temperamental, and slightly odd-looking, these mugs have provided me with quite a few potholes in the road, and times when I wanted to throw in the proverbial towel and quit trying. But these most recent iterations have been much more successful, and they are being quite well received by customers…now I am actually having trouble keeping up with the demand!
So cheers to each of you… raise your small teacup, diner-style mug, tall tumbler or handwarmer mug to the idea of the perfect form, and may you feel at home when you use it.