Thursday, February 10, 2011
I just bought my first $68 mug!
Molly Hatch's mug. Yes, I think I very much DO need her mug in my cupboard because- well, HELLO!! She's pretty amazing and I've been in awe of her work for, well, forever!
Last year when this post came out in Design Sponge I scoured internet land to see how I could possibly get a hold of one of these mugs with teacups on them. Because of a little story that goes like this: when I was in my 4th year of Art School, I found an Arts & Crafts Movement book (don't remember what the name was) in the library and basically fell in love with pages of hand-drawn textile, wall-paper, glassware and ceramic designs. There were also tea-cup patterns and tea-cup designs, which were really similar to the drawings on Molly's mugs. PLUS, my mom has a very extensive teacup collection. So, a teacup on a wheel-thrown mug is just my kind of thing.
Which brings me to the other topic of discussion: the high price tag. For sure, this mug is worth every cent. And I know a lot of other 'super star' ceramic artists who also have $68 plus mugs that are well worth the pennies saved. So this leads me to a recent negative gallery/shop experience about the value of hand-made mugs.
This past December I got a very unsettling email from a shop that was trying my work out, that basically said my mugs weren't worth their '$40' price tag. The story kind of goes like this. Gallery owner emails to say that my work isn't selling and that everyone else's work is selling. My mugs are the highest priced mugs in his shop and a 'well-respected' potter (who shall remain nameless) came in and said they weren't worth the price. So, long story short, my work is no longer in said gallery. So it had me thinking, and worrying about my prices. And frankly, being really mad that the going rate of mugs is so low that people don't value hand-made mugs nearly enough. Mugs are really hard work to make. They really need to stand out from everything else out there. I mean, you don't have to spend more than $4 on a nice mug if you don't want to- just head down to IKEA and buy the whole lot of mugs there. They will all matchy match, be well-designed and last for years. But if you are really looking for something special- something that becomes your mug that you use daily, the one that brightens your face every time you pull it out of the cupboard and make your tea in, you will want and need to pay a lot more. And it will be worth every penny- I guarantee it!
The icing on the cake was in January, when I received an email from someone who had bought 2 of my mugs at one of my Christmas sales. She wanted 6 more. She had given the 2 away to friends and each time she gave one away she felt like she wanted to take it back because she realized how special they were. So she decided for her birthday to buy 6 of them, just for her. When she picked them up she said to me "You've figured out how to make the perfect mug- everything you've done here is so right! I just love them!" So there you go- shop that doesn't value my mugs! Maybe it's not me, it's you!