Can I get you a drink?
More importantly, can I get you a drink in a handmade cup?
Eating and drinking from handmade pottery is a revelation.
It's a fundamentally different experience than the same acts using mass-produced tableware.
clay is magic
A handmade mug or plate or bowl adds a subtle but tangible enhancement to whatever you're consuming, creating unanticipated depth and satisfaction. While it must be experienced to fully understand, don't expect to be struck by lightning - the effect is a subliminal expansion of your experience. You'll notice it over time, and most directly when it’s missing.
Before I became a potter, I was completely unaware of this.
Ok, so of course I knew that fancy tableware can enhance a meal, but this goes far beyond the difference between plain and fancy. There is a subconscious, transformational aspect infused in a handmade mug that will make the sips you take over the course of a life not fancier, but truly better.
I can't explain this phenomenon by any single thing, but here are a few factors:
Obviously the one-of-a-kind nature of the piece matters. Even the most precise potters will have delightful little variations in their work. (I mostly eat off of seconds, things that are functional but not quite right, and believe me when I tell you the quirks are lovable.)
This next one is pretty out there, but I also attribute this effect to the transference of attention. As our social media companies have so kindly taught us, attention is the most valuable thing we have. At some point a potter gives their undivided focus to every object they make. Why wouldn’t some of that intensity live within the pot?
And of course there's the personal connection, getting to know an artist, how they think, what they strive for, understanding them through their work. Any human to human connection can be meaningful.
Whatever the alchemy, the experience of eating from handmade pottery is absolutely lovely and I want it for you, too.
So go find a local potter.
Buy yourself a mug, pour yourself a drink and bask in the wonder.
It'll change your life.
v1. January 31, 2022. I reserve the right to edit or revise this at will. Tricky things, manifestos.