Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Favorite Cups

Pete Pinnell’s musings on cups and the reasons he loves particular cups prompted me to think about our favorite vessels, the ones we use every day. So here are a few:

Gabe’s favorite teabowl

I use this red cup, made by our friend Carter Gillies, every day. I generally use it as a teabowl, though I sometimes drink cold water out of it as well. Carter’s form is particularly comfortable, and he has a habit of pressing in an indention for one finger which always falls in the best place to balance the cup. It’s got a good weight, and as Pinnell says of one of his favorite mugs, it forces me to stop a moment and think about what I’m drinking. Before I bought this one, I had never used a teabowl before, but I found it really appeals to me and I’ve started using another that Carrie made – the “Quack” cup inspired by one of Eva’s favorite words.

I’ve been clumsy with this one and it has some small chips in the foot, but somehow they make it more personal to me. Someone (I can’t remember who) told me when I was a kid that a thing doesn’t really belong to you until you damage it. That was probably just one of those things an adult tells you to make you feel better when you break something, but it has stuck with me, and I still follow it – I don’t feel a pipe is really mine until I’ve burned the rim or scuffed up the finish, for instance.

I also like the Quack cup because its wide mouth allows the tea to cool off quickly. Some people would hate that, but I don’t like really hot tea, and I enjoy having the last swallow be cold and easy to drink down. There’s something satisfying about finishing the cup in a gulp rather than a sip, like finishing up hard work in a coup.

Carrie’s favorite mug

Unlike me, Carrie likes her coffee HOT. If it doesn’t scald her tongue, it’s not satisfying. So she enjoys using this mug by Bekke Broadhurst, another Good Dirt potter. It’s a simple wort on stoneware with a wide bottom, narrow top, and cool tab on the top of the handle, all of which contributes in a practical way to a hot but comfortable cup of coffee.

Our favorite drinking cup

Another cup by Carter, we use this cup at almost every meal and all through the day. Like Gabe’s teabowl, it has Carter’s distinctive wave in the form and the finger indentation for grasping.

Carrie’s favorite wine cup

Carrie hates glass wineglasses – she says they feel too fragile and make her nervous. So her favorite wineglass is a teabowl made for her by Sheila Bradley to demonstrate throwing and slip-trailing techniques. Even though it’s made for hot drinks, the rounded shape actually works well for red wine (Carrie’s preference), allowing you to warm it in your hand and swirl it around like a small snifter. And it’s pretty and delicate, just like a crystal wineglass. So who says you have to drink wine from a glass?

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