Thursday, February 11, 2021

Pottery Mayhem: My Coffee Mug Collection


My sisters all live away from me. Granted one is only about and hour and a half away, but another is whole states away (in Texas) and the other is whole countries away (in Belgium). And I miss them. Terribly. I have had a history of pushing off my obsessions onto them. I gift them bags and boxes of wax, perfumes, candles, and yes, even ceramics. I have enjoyed buying and sending pottery to Heather and Darby. I would Lindsey too but I know she has a style that she prefers and I probably would not hit it on the head. Anyway, my sister Heather has become enamored of all things pottery and functional art. She recently asked me to show and tell. So here it is.

I apologize in advance for the craptastic photos. I refused to move my mugs very far in fear of dropping any. So in-door lighting at its worst is evident and no fancy schmancy props and set ups. I store them on these floating shelves. I am thinking of raising the ones in the back row up higher. Keep in mind these are (mostly) only my mugs. With the exception of two that are on their was to me. I do have other ceramic art pieces I can show if you like.

I know this isn't a mug but my J Pop Studios gar canister is amazing. It holds my Lady's Mantle tea. Plus I have two spoons. An owl from J Pop and a mushroom from Murava Ceramics, sadly it broke so I had to wrap it in twine and glue it back together. Too much tapping on the edge of a coffee mug I guess. 

These are my sentimental mugs that were gifted to me. The first two are from my best friend Ashley. She picked up the tea cup in Japan while she lived there at an art festival. The second one is an Ugchug from Nelson Studio. The one on the far right is a treasured gift from Tiggy at Future Primitive. Her partner, Matt, is a potter at Winchcombe Pottery in the UK, one of the longest running craft potteries in the country. I love this mug to pieces. It is light, easy to hold, the design and shape is attractive, and the sanded texture is appealing to me. I pretty much love everything about this mug. 

These four mugs I picked up while on various vacations to the Smoky mountains: Townsend and Gatlinburg, TN and then Nacoochee, GA and Murphy, NC. They started my craze, specifically the owl on the far right. 

Then began the Instagram pottery scouting. Elan Pottery was by far the most prolific at the time (and probably still is). I kept trying to score a mug on her Etsy page but they would slip by like slippery eels. Eventually, Leigh Anne started her Mug Club and dagnabbit! I was not going to miss out again. So I took a deep breath and clicked the 6 month subscription (which is still available by the by- but she no longer uses Etsy). It was worth it. These mugs (except the skull with crystal- that one I was able to score later as time went by) arrived with extras like magnets, pens, teas and whatnots. There were two more (sometimes you got a set) but I gifted those to friends. I love the tall stein and tumbler for milk or cold drinks. Some of these have a pearlescent glaze except the two with transfers.

Leigh Anne was very nice to work with. My last shipment (the highly anticipated crystal mug!!!!) did not arrive. And then didn't arrive some more. After about two months I emailed her and it had simply fell through the hole somewhere. So she generously sent two crystal mugs instead. Mug Club is clutch. Especially if you want a cohesive collection or you want to build it without the headache of missing releases or launches and you aren't too picky.

These guys are from one of my favorite potters, Cate, from CBe Ceramics. I have three mugs and two planters from her. The owls in the desert mug was a custom (she opens for customs twice a year, join her mailing list). The others were scores from releases that I had been closely following. Now I find it easier to just wait for her newsletter to catch an opening if I have a hankering.

I love the glazing, shape, feel, and artistry in her pieces. You get the intuition that she actually puts pieces of herself in her work. The sayings on the back make me smile too. I like the forest creature mug for milk and cookies. I am only slightly bummed the owls don't have a saying. I guess I should have requested one? Totoro is one of my favorite mugs period. I always hope to catch one more custom so I can ask for a No-Face mug.

These mugs are from the maker, Deanna at Hand to Earth Ceramics. I had one more with a pink full moon but it cracked and leaks so the girls use it to hold their toothbrushes. I love the sgraffito artwork that Deanna creates. The tall moon phase one in the back has breathtaking glaze, the colors and textures and incredible. The others look more like a spray painted ombre rather than glazes.

Kelsey's Starstuff mugs have evolved so much. These two mugs were from her earlier and simpler styling. I was able to score these back when she had an Etsy. I do love these bug filled mugs. However, I will say the resin is starting to lift despite hand-washing and gentle care. For the money invested in these that does frustrate me a bit, but they are still treasures for sure. I also asked her once how the acorns and such hold up on her mugs with use and washing but she never replied. I can't imagine how water would be good for that. Nevertheless, I am happy to own these mugs and count them as some of my most unique.

Pitch Pine Pottery  also included some of my beginning pieces. I grabbed the one on the left and a tea cup (gifted the tea cup to Heather), then later came the tent, the bat mug ornament and a hanging planter. I gifted my sister Darby a PPP moon mug too.  These were all during the Etsy days. More recently I purchased two painter's palettes. I do have my heart set on a bookish pipe smoking owl mug. I hope I am fast enough one day. I will say signing up for newsletters is the best route. Tara and Matt sometimes host subscriber only secret sales. That is how I got one of the palettes. 

One of my favorite artists and creators is Tiffany Thomas at TThomas Arts. I love following her on IG, she is so sweet and kind hearted. Her baby boy is the cutest too. Tiffany specializes in gemstone mugs that are sculptural, hefty, fascinating and one-of-a-kind. The teal sprinkle mug was love at first sight. It reminded me of my December birthstone of blue topaz. From time to time she will do a pre-order and I asked if she could include the cedar mug and sure enough she did so I scooped it up. These are hefty mugs that feel substantially luxurious. I secretly covet either a candy corn or a candy cane mug of hers next.

Shiyana is a very talented potter who has gone through a few iterations in her branding. She first started Ox & Otter as a college assignment but then it took off. She then was Earth Erra for a bit and now Erralajean. The mug on the far left is an older mug that I purchased second-hand. Then came the pink mug, the orange/black, then the purple and finally the moss colored one. I pre-ordered three gorgeous teal mugs and gifted them to a friend and a sister, but the one I kept for myself was broken when washing by being hit against the countertop. I use it to hold my toothbrushes. I find catching her pre-orders around Christmas time is the best option for getting an item you want. I also have a wax warmer from her that I use in my bedroom.

Another artist I find to be exquisitely talented is Michelle Strader at Silver Run Ceramics. Her sgraffito artwork is highly detailed and folkloric. The bearded raven was my first purchase (isn't he handsome?!!). I then picked up the snake for my youngest daughter who has a pet snake. She also has a matching jewelry dish. Then the curio cabinet mug was my next purchase. I also have an evil eye I picked up, along with a fox match striker and wolf incense burner. I am always game to add Michelle's art to my collection. Her wall art tiles are stunning as well. I have eyes for one of her rabbits. The symbols and alchemy on them remind me of Watership Down and I am there for that.

Ben at Scrimshaw Pottery was first introduced to me by following Nicole from Arrok Jewelry. She had purchased two of the tall ship stein mugs and I fell hard for them. So I scooped one up and then the skulls were begun shortly after and of course I needed one of those too. Ben is a fun creator to watch. I love that he hand paints each and every mug. No transfers used. Wow. Ben is great about having pre-orders. He has a fun alien mug right now. What I wish I would have picked up is his Krampus mug. Maybe it will return?

Callahan Ceramics is a popular maker. I was able to grab these two beauties during a Halloween/October release a few years ago. One is a bat cave coffee mug and the other is a Hogwarts tumbler. I enjoy both but don't reach for them as much as I should. Maybe once or twice a year.

Mushroom mugs... can one really have enough? My answer is a resounding "NO" therefore I have grabby hands with them all. These two came from Three Stars and A Sun Ceramics. The one on the left is a transfer I believe and was a pre-order. The one on the right is 3-D and hand sculpted. I had fast fingers for that one. I love both to pieces. The handles, glazing and motif with vignette is attractive to me. 

From here on are one-offs that I have. Just because I only own one of each from these makers does not mean I don't like them. It just means I was finally fast enough once. 

The technicolor daisy from Pine Zen Pottery is mind blowing. The walls are thin and delicate, the inner glaze is this juicy deep jungle green and blue teal color that makes my mouth water. The rainbow of hand-painted daisies is eye catching. I would totally collect more.

The tall mug in the middle is probably one of my most artistic. It is a fungus and lichen inspired sculptural piece from Lori Ellen Phillips Ceramics. I swoon every time I use it. I am scared I will drop it swooning one day. The finishes are glossy, satin and matte and the movement is admirable. I have an incense burner from her too. 

The last mushroom mug is by Little Garden Pottery. I chipped the lip but it still drinks just fine. I like this one for my teas. So I use it fairly often. 

DirtWorks Ceramics has blown up since I purchased this mug on Ahnalisa's old Etsy site. I love the galaxy of colors on this moon phase mug. It is a beast and I tend to use it for chilled drinks like iced teas and such. If she ever made a Hermit tarot card mug I would be all over it.

This footed cauldron with a huge moon spilling swirls of glaze was made by One:Eleven Pottery. I love using this mug. It makes me feel witchy.

The haunted house and pumpkin patch is a mug by Cornidez Studios. She has become very popular and her mugs are quite fun to look at. I was hoping to get a Headless Horseman or witch but they sold mega fast. I am happy with my wee haunted house though. The glittering black glaze is unique to my collection. 

The tall stein to the left is a drippy glaze from Made by Anisa. I also have a planter by her as well.

The owl and moon in the forest is by Christine Tenenholtz back when she had Red Hot Pottery. She simply goes by her name now. I love the stars and cedars on this one. He style is more simplistic now but beautiful nonetheless with stylized rainbows of color.

 The last mug is a chubby drippy confection by Pottery by M. I love the look and feel of it but the handle doesn't feel so great so I tend to hold it with my fingers around the belly. 

The tall thumb mug is from Namas Art Studios. I picked one up for myself and one for my sister, Darby. I like using it for iced drinks since it has a bigger capacity. This maker was a hidden gem I uncovered while trolling through Etsy for mugs to buy my friends and family for Christmas. 

The hand painted and thrown Totoro mug is from Wander and Flux. It has a lot of cute details on the back too. It is on the smaller side and very comfy to hold so I like it for hot tea at night. This was another one I stumbled upon while searing mugs on Etsy.

The big chonk blue pearly beast at the end is a recent purchase that Adam made for me as a gift from Fox + Phoenix Pottery. I have not even had a chance to sip from it yet. 

These last ones are some of my favorites. The one on the left was a random find at an antique sale at a local huge market a year or so ago... pre-COVID times. It is supposed to be vintage but I honestly have no idea. I just love it. 

The time bear aurora is one of my favorite art pieces. It is made by Claire McCauley and I adore it. It is so very cool. 

I was good for a while. I had not made a mug purchase in ages until last month. I now have a bat mug from Black Banjo Arts coming (to be fair I have bought a shirt from Ellie before and have drooled over her mugs for ages, so it was time). I also have a mug from Art By Ramiro Diaz on its way and a sparkling pines snowy moonscape from Mud Grove Pottery ( and hey! She actually has some left!!). 

I will still probably snoop around. I will still be gifting mugs. I have a mug for each week of the year. But hey. It really isn't any different than the hundreds of salt and peppers shakers my Mema collected, so it must be genetic thing. 

What do you collect? Which mug catches your eye? The more demure and simple or the wild and motley? Shapes? Color? Texture?


  1. AMAZING collection Julie!
    Thank you for sharing these beauties with us & the links to the artist's pages!💝

    1. Thank you so much!! I love supporting artists and selfishly love having their bits of beauty in my home to enjoy. Thanks for checking it out. Happy Valentine's Day.

  2. Mayhem? More like magic. From the minimalist simplicity of the Japanese teacup <3 to the most intricate hand-painting, (Scrimshaw!!) your collection is excellent. It's fun to look back at pieces which represent where some potters started and see how they've evolved. I told Tara that, I too needed a pipe-smoking professor Owl mug because it was me in muggo form, but alas, I was too slow. My latest want is a bunny/hare/rabbit vessel, missed out again this past Sat, oh well.

    I have made it a point to sign up for more newsletters but somehow miss CBE's customs, maybe some other time. I noted that from my collection, I don't reach for Callahan's mugs often either, they are bulky and a bit heavy for me. Aesthetically, we have similar styles, I think the Cornidez is giving me the greenest eye atm, but the wee jug style from your 3rd mug photo down is darling too. I am much more conscious of size/ounces and am gravitating to smaller mugs--they take up less space!

    Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Hahahaa!! Thanks!!! It does feel like a tiny bit of magic in the morning to have warm delicious coffee in a special handmade mug. My own ritual. I am so happy you mentioned the Japanese cup, it is super simple but feels so special and I can't pinpoint it. Making this post and seeing some of the makers work now has been fun to compare! I hadn't realized just how much some have changed in the last 5 or so years. I hope we BOTH get that professor/librarian owl. He is our comrade. He is us in mug form. I love the bunnies too. I have a rabbit hankering from Silver Run Ceramics that I hope I can pull off one day. I think I would even trade in an Elan Pottery mug to make room for it and that is saying something.

      I was thinking I must be dumb to not reach for the Callahan. I KNOW his work is gorgeous and coveted by many, but my hands just don't reach for it and I think you may be right... it is the heft. Size makes a difference. If it is too big for one regular cup of coffee it automatically gets used less and usually for cold drinks. Smaller mugs for the win!! And wise friend of mine... YES... it leaves more room for more hahahaha!!! <3 You rock!