My New Mug

For a couple years now I have been looking for the "one mug". As we have slowly downsized our belongings (maybe too much in some cases, we have only two wine glasses now in the house) the things we do decide to keep mean that much more to us. And their beauty and aesthetic matters to us.

We keep one glass and one mug per person in handy reach in the cupboard. (One plate, one bowl, and one set of cutlery also.) We keep extras for hospitality but these are higher in the cupboard and generally out of reach. On a daily basis, we don't need more than one dish set per person. So if you only have one, you want that one to be nice.

Hence the search for my one mug. I wanted a mug that I could use for everything - water, tea, and coffee. And the occasional glass of wine. A mug to use as both a mug for hot drinks and a glass for cold drinks.  

I start my day with a cup of water. Right around now, it's 8:00am when I'm writing this, I make my morning cup of coffee. When that's done I switch to water for the rest of the day, till my afternoon cup of tea which is usually herbal though sometimes black or green.

This mug does it all.

I've been looking a long time for a mug with this shape. For some weird reason I don't like drinking water from a mug with a handle, I'll do it, it's just not as aesthetically pleasing to me.

I have found mugs with this shape but not these colors. Or I've found handled mugs with the right colors but of course not the right shape.

So I commissioned a potter to create this mug for me.

When we were in Nova Scotia this summer I visited Westcote Bell Pottery on the LaHave River. The studio is new to the area but the potters have years of experience. They recently moved their lives and business to Nova Scotia from New York state (good move).

In viewing their vast pottery selection and marveling at their skill I realized these potters could probably make me exactly what I had been looking for.

I had a few specifications - the approximate height and size, and blue and green glaze. The swirl design on my mug is the potter's own inspiration and I love it.

I ordered my mug while visiting my parents. The potter made it during the latter half of August and my mom picked it up for me and brought it when they arrived last week. I wasn't sure exactly what I would be getting, since I couldn't chose the final product. The potter made several others to sell in his studio and my mom choose the one she thought I'd like best. She done good. The mug has been my constant companion ever since (except while camping of course.) My parents bring old pottery mugs while camping, I stick with my titanium.

A couple thoughts on using a mug like this for all your drinking. Boiling water is really hot to hold without a handle. But you can't drink boiling water anyway. By the time my tea is the right temperature for drinking, the mug is a good temperature for holding in my hand. Also, if the mug feels too hot for my hand I hold it mostly at the top, where there isn't any liquid. However, I think this is only a summer issue. Come cooler weather, wrapping my hands around a warm mug will be delicious.

And in case you're wondering, the pottery bowls in these photos were made by the kids nearly three years ago during a hands-on visit to a potter's studio. And the fruit? That's the late summer bounty from our farm share and those plums were as delicious as they look!

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  • Nicole

    Nicole on Sept. 6, 2012, 1:13 p.m.

    The mug is beautiful, excellent colors! I know you'll enjoy it for years to come. I have to laugh that I am not the only one who does not like a handle on my mug. Most of our mugs have handles, and I don't hold the handle, I hold the other side of the mug!


  • Jamie {See Jamie Blog}

    Jamie {See Jamie Blog} on Sept. 6, 2012, 1:42 p.m.

    I really like it! I'm particular about mugs, too, and though we haven't pared down to just one per person, we don't have oodles of them, and I have my favorite. The one I'd really like to be my favorite just isn't quite big enough; in fact, it looks a whole lot like a smaller version of your new mug - so you're would probably be just about perfect for me. I keep a lidded cup with a straw for my water, but I drink tea nearly all day long so my mug stays very close by!


  • Jennifer @ kidoing!

    Jennifer @ kidoing! on Sept. 6, 2012, 2:43 p.m.

    That is a gorgeous mug! I have one mug that I got for Christmas a couple years ago that I treasure. I am whittling down my unintentional "collection" of mugs/glasses. We have enough of everything to entertain 8-12 people, which unfortunately has become a thing of the past...


  • Teri

    Teri on Sept. 6, 2012, 3:22 p.m.

    Love the new perfect mug. I am so crazy about pottery. I'm still looking for that perfect mug aso. Big tea drinker - keep a mug by me most of the day - but finding that elusive mix of just-right size, heft and appearance is difficult. I never thought about commissioning one! What a great idea. Now time to scout around for a fabulous local potter like yours. Thanks for sharing, Renee!


  • Matthew

    Matthew on Sept. 6, 2012, 4:26 p.m.

    What a beautiful mug! One of the local colleges' art department has an annual open studio night. The pottery department always has beautiful pieces for sale - my wife and I have picked up a few things that we really enjoy having.

    In response to the mug being too hot to hold at times - might I suggest knitting a cozy for it? A knitted (or sewn-felt, perhaps) sleeve that slips over it to protect your hands? Then you could remove it during the winter when the warmth is welcomed. :D


    • renee

      renee on Sept. 6, 2012, 4:35 p.m.

      Matthew, are you offering to knit a cozy for my mug? What a great idea. I wonder if I can commission someone to do that for me too. My current knitting project has been delayed by frustration - I made a mistake somewhere that really needs fixing before I move on. But unraveling and picking stitches back up is not appealing to me, so I'm currently not knitting. (I can't bring myself to start a new project without finishing this one).


      • Matthew

        Matthew on Sept. 6, 2012, 7:57 p.m.

        Haha! I would knit you one, but it might look suspiciously like a skein of yarn wrapped around my hand and tied into a bundle... like a yarn donut! :D

        I have a gifted mug that was too hot and I made a fitted leather cozy for it. The design wouldn't transfer directly, however.

        Perhaps the little project is exactly what you need to jump back into knitting? I think that it would be pretty quick and simple, as long as you can knit in the round, since it wouldn't have to be much more than a 3" tall tube. -shrugs- But then, I don't knit.


  • Leanne

    Leanne on Sept. 6, 2012, 10:26 p.m.

    You always have such delightful posts, no matter what you are talking about :) I do love the daughter just bought me my first "real" personalable mug. I too hold it from the non-handle side, I never thought of a mug with no handle!! I wonder if the potter who it for you will start making and selling them...passing along a website to order... you definately have great ideas!


  • Kika

    Kika on Sept. 7, 2012, 3:07 a.m.

    Great shape to it! I have two favorite pottery mugs and alternate between them as the mood strikes. They are both entirely different in shape and both have handles... which I like :)


  • Melissa

    Melissa on Sept. 7, 2012, 7:15 p.m.

    That is a lovely mug. I too have one that is handleless that I prefer best. It's one of those ceramic double-walled things that means I can hold it even when it's full of freshly brewed tea or coffee. Not made by hand of course.

    As for a mug cozy...don't you have a stash of fabrics etc. that are intended to be repurposed? Wouldn't the cuff of a sweater be a good candidate for a cozy? Maybe finish the ends with an elasticized bit of fabric?


    • renee

      renee on Sept. 8, 2012, 11:23 a.m.

      The cuff of a sweater - yes! What a great idea. Those cuffs are popular around here for kid's crafting projects but I might have one somewhere. 


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