I love mugs and I love making mugs – they are probably my favorite pots to make. However, I shudder with anxiety when some one wants to replace a beloved but broken mug.
As a potter, I get a lot of requests for mugs. But, when some one is looking to replace a mug, they don’t want a new mug; they want the same mug that they had. Inevitably, these are coffee drinkers who have spent countless mornings with a familiar friend. And, they often tell me in detail why their mug was perfect – ‘the handle was comfortable’, ‘it fit the curve of my hand’, ‘ it held exactly the amount of coffee I can drink before it gets cold’, etc. One gentleman who visited our craft show booth even carried his broken mug of 20+ years with him trying to find its replacement! No mug can live up to such legacies.
The real issue is not that there aren’t wonderful mugs to choose from. The real issue is that those mug-seekers will initially compare every mug to their old mug; and, all they will notice are the deficiencies of the new mug. Change is challenging for most of us. We cling to the comfort of the familiar. But, if those mug-enthusiasts overcome their loss and if they select one of my mugs, I count it an honor because I hope that something I made will become a celebrated and familiar part of their daily ritual.