Original Poppy Mug

Regular price $65.00

You are buying one earthenware mug similar to those pictured here. Microwave and dishwasher safe. 

I began working with ceramic decal imagery around 2005. My first interests were rooted in exploring historic and contemporary iconic imagery, both positive and negative. I began with some of my favorite U.S. Presidents Abe Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson and also pop culture images from my childhood like Barney Fife and Michael Jackson.

This was also during the height of the war in Afghanistan, and the run up to the Presidential election which happened during the fall of 2007. I was, and continue to be, interested in creating dinnerware that reflected my own values, and that made a statement about social and political topics. I started making “iconic” dinnerware depicting soldiers, terrorists, and even Osama bin Laden.

These “violent” icons felt incomplete to me, and, more importantly, they weren't beautiful. I began thinking of ways to create beautiful imagery that still reflected a connection to Afghanistan and would symbolize my own opposition to war as a way to address conflict. I came across an image of a soldier walking in a poppy field. This image became the background design, and horizon line, for the poppy motif I now use. It is printed in a sepia color that is symbolic of a dead or dying poppy field. I paired it with bright, red poppy flowers in full bloom.

The first piece I made with this design was a communion set, symbolizing for me a personal desire to choose community building methods of conflict resolution. Additionally, for me, this set represented a conscious effort to move away from negative imagery (guns, terrorists, bin Laden) into positive imagery (flowers, colors).

I've since recognized, and appreciated other things about this design. I like that the design is applied in layers, giving me an opportunity to add or subtract color at different points. I like that the pattern works in horizontal and vertical format. I like that red poppies, and sepia poppies fall into a color spectrum that works well with many other colors. I like that the design reflects nature, the horizon, and is organic in its application and appearance. I've also since learned that the red poppy has symbolized death, life, and rememberence since World War 1.

The versatility of this design, for me, also represents the best of what positive problem solving necessitates: flexibility, evolving perspective, and an ability to work well in new environments. Thus, through serendipity, lots of experimentation, and a willingness to try anything, this design has become a signature of my ceramic work. It reflects, for me, a combination of my own values as a person of faith, and also my creative process as a person who learns through experimentation.