Whether you're new to the mug game or a seasoned veteran, you've obviously noticed the detail in these finely crafted pieces of ceramic mastery. I'd even guess that's why you collect them. What you may not realize, however, is how much time and energy goes into birthing the idea that magically gets turned into these 3-dimensional caffeine delivering vessels.
It starts from a series of conversations. Usually pretty informal in the beginning. Like some jerk at the office popping their head over the space divider and yelling (normally at an inopportune time), "We should totally do a **Insert obscene idea** for the valentines day mug this year." Nine times out of ten these outlandish ideas are brushed to the side like crumbs from my afternoon pie but every once in a while it starts a fire under all of us to really think about what would be a cool, collectible piece.
After we hone in on an idea or two, we go to the research phase. This is where the strongest ideas get imagery attached to them. Think pieces of a puzzle, small segments of a larger, final image. Eventually, we start putting the pieces together and build a visual foundation of what we want this thing to look like. Sometimes it falls into place really easy, and other times it's a back and forth process of slow refinement until we get it right.
Once the vision has an identity, I sketch up what it should look like on the medallion. This is an unrefined sketch that will be used as the skeleton (pun intended) for the design. We then take that sketch and either I will bring it into the vector machine and start working it into a finalized, digital piece or we work with a talented illustrator to take our idea and turn it into what you will eventually see on the front of your mug.
From this point on it's in the talented hands (literally) of the crew at Deneen Pottery. They review our design, give us input on what translates best on/in clay and send us a proof to review.
After we thoroughly look the proof over, we give them the green light to put the design into production and patiently wait while they methodically create the beautiful pieces of stoneware that you have come to know and love with your entire heart.
And that's it. It's like growing a plant or a child. Slow and steady we mold this thing until the outcome is something we are proud to share with the world.