So Why Am I Doing This Again?

From my exhibit proposal: “Books and tea are two of my great loves in life, and they go together swimmingly. My plan is to make one teacup for every book I own. (that’s a little over 400 cups.) Each would be one of a kind, varying in size, shape, colour and clay body. Some would be very simple, and others much more ornate. The idea would be to fill the room with a towering, borderline overwhelming display of pottery. It should feel like walking into a library—books don’t talk, but they have presence and personality, and they will tell you stories if you listen.

Why teacups? Because (much like books) they lend themselves to individuality, to standing as one in a herd of many. There is a cultural expectation of uniformity for household food vessels. Plates and bowls must match. Glasses must be identical to one another. Even single items like serving platters or salad bowls are often chosen for how well they complement other dishes, or even the rest of the kitchen. Students and other fledgling adults may scrape and scramble for a few years with the family hand-me-downs and a few odds and ends picked up from Value Village, but once settled away into careers and respectability—once settled in a Real Kitchen—the motley dinnerware is replaced with the standard, regimented vessels.

But mugs and teacups have largely escaped the dictates of décor. What kitchen does not have a riotous cupboard or two of chipped, mismatched and utterly beloved mugs? Who doesn’t know the cracks in the bottom of their favourite coffee cup better than the lines on their face? The deeply personal and individual act of cradling a cup of tea is best carried out, it appears, with the assistance of a personal and individual teacup. And the enjoyment of a good book is best enhanced by a cup of tea.”