Sunday, January 31, 2010

Usable Art

Though Phil passed away a long time ago, I have found it so difficult to purchase mugs that look like the ones he made I haven't bought any. I have looked at mugs, bowls, and plates, admired them, picked them up to rub my fingers on the cool glazes, and then put them down and walked away.

Phil specifically made this mug for me one night after we'd been in the original Starbucks in Pike Place during our sophomore year. This was before lidded mugs were ubiquitous, if even invented, and I had admired a mug with a wide bottom and a narrow mouth. I imagined that I would be able to walk to class with a full cup of tea (it was also before I started drinking coffee).

Phil didn't like the way this green-brown-blue mug had come out, but I asked if I could have it and he said yes. For a long time this was my go-to mug in the morning if I wasn't going anywhere, while the long-necked one was what I took to class. It was much easier to clean than the other one, too. Then lidded mugs appeared on the scene, I got out of school and was driving to work, and the long-necked mug lived at home.

Yesterday morning I went to the Farmers' Market and there was a new vendor. He apparently comes to the Hayward FM once a month to sell his ceramics. He comes with pieces, but he also takes orders for specific pieces and colors.

Maybe because Marko and his family are in town this weekend (and I saw them later yesterday) I really felt like I would jump in and buy something. The potter, Scott, was very talkative and he and I talked for awhile about firing, glazes, and selling his usable art. Some people arrived to pick up pieces they had ordered. While they were talking, as I have in the past, I looked at mugs, bowls, plates, and casserole dishes, and picked them up to rub my fingers on the cool glazes. I found myself having a strong emotional reaction to even considering buying something that looked similar to the things Phil used to make.

Eventually I did.

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