Recently, whilst visiting other blogs I noticed that several people had participated in “Plate Friday” which was originally an idea started by Elizabeth from About New York. I rather lightheartedly suggested that this might be followed by Mug Monday, so here we are and hence this post.
As I am sure you can imagine, our house is full of mugs, samples mainly from the many designs that I have worked on over the years. We never have the need to actually buy new mugs so please forgive me if this post looks like a bit of shameless self-promotion (which of course it is!)
The mug that I have chosen to show you today is a sunflower design featuring my artwork. It consists of garden related motifs and it wraps around a fine bone china mug. The handle and interior also have design elements but unfortunately they don’t show up too well here. It is one of a series that I created for Hudson and Middleton. It is very difficult to photograph bone china as the surface is reflective and I found that natural light worked best, hence the garden shot complete with fly!
The mug has a lovely, stable base, which is wider at the top and the bottom than it is in the middle. I seem to remember that this shape has a name but I am afraid it has escaped my memory at present- could it be a parabola? One of the reasons that I like this mug above all others is because of its shape (which I didn't design). The three dimensional design process is something that fascinates me, although I don’t understand it entirely. As a surface pattern designer I find it impossible to think in three dimensions. I believe it is designed on a computer and then, this is the clever bit, the computer is linked to a machine which makes a three dimensional prototype. Isn’t that clever?
I often get asked how the artwork ends up on the china - I think some people believe that I hand paint each one. The design is first painted in watercolour onto paper in the usual way and careful consideration has to be given to the placing of the design elements within the shape of the decal or transfer. When the design has been approved the artwork is scanned on a high-resolution digital scanner to facilitate the production of the decal or printed transfer. In the case of this mug, the decal must wrap around a shape, which is rather unusual, a straightforward cylinder is much easier and it constantly amazes me how the factory manages to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. When the artwork and the mug are placed side by side it is almost impossible to fault the colour and detail in the reproduction. So many skilled people go into the manufacturing process; it is truly a team effort.
Several people have been asking where they can buy Hudson and Middleton mugs and I have been directing them to their online shop. Unfortunately the company cannot export them to the USA because of legislation relating to lead testing. It seems that this is an expensive operation and one, which the company finds difficult to offset, which seems a great shame to me. I have lived in the “pot bank” for most of my working life and have never come across a problem with lead contamination from well-produced, quality bone china.
And now, I am going to visit everyone else’s blogs to find out what they have chosen. If you would like to join me, here is a list of those who have expressed an interest in Mug Monday. Please forgive me if I have inadvertently left anyone out.
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern/textile designer and illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.