Mug Monday.

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.

Sweet Tidings
Weaver of Grass
Purple Podded Peas
Willow Manor
Moxey Musings
Raphs ramblings
My Irish Cottage
CJ Stitching and Blooms
Fairy Lanterns
One Pink Goose
City Views, Country Dreams
Beth Niquette
About New York
Merisi’s Vienna for beginners
A Thousand Clapping Hands
Crafty Green Poet
Daughter of the Golden West
All I ever wanted
poetikats invisible keepsakes


  1. what a wonderful idea, i love to have beautiful mugs to use, all different. the design you show above is a favourite of mine also. Part of the business that i work for is printing individual mugs for folks with their own designs on, you cant imagine some of the things we get asked to print! great fun though. am off to peep at other mugs.

  2. My mug has been posted!

    That's a very pretty garden mug - and hens love redcurrants, how apt!


  3. Your work translates beautifully onto china.
    So when I'm next in the UK I will have to hunt some down.
    Bone china is so perfect for tea and coffee with its delicacy.
    Such a beautiful post.

  4. Beautiful mugs! :-)

    I am sorry that I am going to be late with my mug post. I have to travel overnight and will not be back until tomorrow night. Wednesday, though, I hope to be able to post a mug shot! ;-)

  5. You have a very sweet blog. I was visiting Willow Manor and was inspired to post a Mug Monday as well.
    Anyone is welcome to drop by "livingintheeasternwoodlands" for a visit. =D

  6. Your artwork on mugs is beautiful.
    I've posted my mugs, but probably I wrote you too late to be added in your list. This is my link: http://raccoltodautunno.blogspot.com/2009/06/sono-tornata-im-back.html
    Have a nice week.

  7. Your mug designs are exquisite! I would love to have a "Lady of the Manor" mug. They don't ship to the US? Darn.

  8. what lovely mugs, how exciting to see your own artwork on mugs!

  9. What beautiful mugs, Acornmoon - I do love your artwork! I like the stability of the shapes of the designs too and they are so pleasing to the eye.

    Thanks for listing me. I'm going to visit everyone on the list this evening!

  10. Could you please add me to your list? I have posted some "mug shots" and a haiku for the occasion.

    I love your mugs - they remind me of Canadian nature artist, Marjolein Bastien.


  11. Your designs are lovely - thanks for hosting!

  12. Hello Valerie, and thank you again for hosting our Mugs.

    Your design is delicate, instricate, and certains decorates the graceful shape of the mug very well. It's interesting to learn more about all the steps necessary to produce this elegant piece of china.

    How disappointing to learn about their not being sold over here. On the bright side, it does give yet another reason to travel across the wide Atlantic!

    I have finally gotten my wandering mug post posted and now will leisurely enjoy reading what others have written.

    Thanks again. xo

  13. Hello Valerie!

    Thanks for hosting Mug Monday! I enjoyed looking at all the beautiful mugs and visiting all those wonderful blogs. Have a great week!

  14. I just LOVE your illustrations and your mugs. They are beautiful. I'm sad they are not sold in the US.
    :( Elizabeth told me about your Monday Mug post so I also posted my favorite mug.

  15. The shape is so inviting! I loved reading about the process - fascinating. This would be a wonderful mug to wake up to.

  16. Good Morning Valerie, I am bit behind you all but I have finally got my Favorite Mugs Posted.

    Valerie, Your mug is truly lovely. I love your artwork and this mug is especially lovely. Hugs Judy

  17. I put my mug up this morning,too.

    I like yours 'almost' as much as I like mine!

  18. I thought they were called beakers in England. That's what Mrs. Bucket calls them on Keeping Up Appearances. Do ya'll love that show over there as much as we do here in the US?

  19. I love your design. That was really fascinating to read about the design process. Thanks you for explaining. I shall look at my collection of mugs quite differently now. I have just posted my images. I'm on Pacific Daylight time, and it was the first thing I did when I woke up. Can't wait to go browse other people's postings. This was a really fun idea!

  20. This is so much fun. I love seeing everyone's favourite mugs. Yours are particulary nice... both for the lovely artwork and for the pleasing shape. The way the mug feels in the hand is important, I think. And yours look perfect!!

    Happy Monday to you!

  21. I love your mug, Valerie - particularly its shape. I have a similar shaped one covered with sweet peas. It must be wonderful to see your design on a piece of china. Thank you for suggesting the idea.

  22. These mugs are stunning. I will just have to get over the pond to shop for a few! Please add me to the list of participants! I have actually managed to post a meme on the day it is scheduled. If I am understanding this correctly, we will post a new mug each week? I used several mugs related to one topic today...I need guidance. Thanks for the idea...and for your exquisite art! I have loved reading through your site!

  23. Valerie, Thanks for adding me to the list! I'm enjoying visiting all the great blogs and checking out their mugs.


  24. Hi, I have just posted my mug. I have had such a busy day that this is the first moment since early this morning. Love your mug. Such a very pretty design.

  25. Dear Valerie, there's nothing wrong with shameless self promotion, especially so when it is the promotion of your gorgeous artwork and design. Those two mugs are beautiful!! Thanks for sharing! Patricia xx

  26. Oh yes me too. I've posted my mugshot at emergingwriter. I like a nice cup of tea in the morning etc.

  27. Your mug is beautiful! I love your artwork. The lead paint bill has caused many problems in many areas but hopefully it will be refined as time goes on.

    Will you be repeating this again next Monday? I have a few mugs I could show.

  28. How interesting to hear about the process of the printing. Thank you x

  29. I am so happy to join in on Mug Monday. Your mug is very pretty and I like it very much.


  30. I love your newest line of cups...truly beautiful! It was fun joining in for Mug Monday. Thanks for being the instigator.

  31. Good evening Valerie, and thank you for your comment and suggestion. I would have to take some time to learn more about links and other bits of tech before setting up a theme.

    Maybe I will do it. Promise to let you know. xo

  32. Dear Valerie,
    First of all, Thank you for hosting this very enjoyable Mug Monday. It has opened several studio doors today and I have really enjoyed seeing what creativity other people are up to. We can get rather isolated at our solitary occupations.
    Secondly, What beautiful designs you are making! I've admired your work since first seeing your Etsy shop. And I was intrigued by your description of the practical pattern-transfer side of the process. I've just tried to sketch up a likely template, something curved like a scallop on the bias in dressmaking, to approximate a concave mug wall. A good thing that someone knowledgeable is actually doing it!
    Thank you again,

  33. I think it must be quite a thrill to drink from your own designed mug. And such pretty mugs. Enjoyed reading about the process.
    Broke my favourite mug a couple of weeks ago!

  34. Hello acornmoon,

    I wanted to pop over to see your mug post because I participated too, although you wouldn't have been aware of that. I was also in on Plate Friday!

    Your new mugs look lovely, particularly the shape, and I hope they sell well. 'Lady of the Manor' would be ideal for Willow, so it's a pity that they can't ship over to the States!

    Your illustrations are beautiful and I wish you well with your latest line drawing book project.

  35. I love the mugs! Just gorgeous (and the shape is both aesthetically pleasing and functional--William Morris would approve).

  36. Someone saw my mug on my blog and asked if we are going to do this again every Monday.
    Willow at willowscottage.blogspot.com

  37. Nice Mug with some vegetables on it !!Loved this post..Unseen Rajasthan

  38. I love the shape of your mug - it is very pleasing:) I think your designs are wonderful now I'm back from Cambridge I may just wander down to the H&M factory shop to see what they have in stock. I'm going to go and have a look at everyone elses's choice of favourite mug now. Hope you manage to find a copy of the book - it is a wonderful read - the film is wonderful too:)

  39. Beautiful mugs Valerie, I have one which is very like this I must check to see if it could be your design!
    Just checked it is a Hudson Middleton mug but it's from the Nick Holland collection.
    I would love to get one of yours.x

  40. Re your comment on House of Edward:
    So glad to discover another Barbara Comyns fan.
    Our Teaspoons was so WONDERFUL.

  41. That is one very beautiful mug. I am a gardener so it would be perfect for me! I have loads of mugs too, and am a sucker for the mug department in any store. Can anyone join?

  42. Hi, Valerie and friends. I realise this thread is dormant now and this comment may not be read, but I'll post it in hope. I came across the site when I was trying to locate a source for these wide top, wide bottom mugs. They are, in my opinion the epitomy of good mug design. I have one cairn terriers and scotties on it from Hudson and Middleton and one with blackface sheep on it from Dales Pottery, Skipton. I had one with Mackintosh's Glasgow Rose on it but it got broken. The only ones currently on the H&M site are a plain white one and 'her ladyship' and 'his lordship' ones. I came across a NZ site with lots of others but it may not represent currebtly available stock. By the way, H&M term the shape 'Boston'. (I'm writing from Ireland.)Regards, David Irwin

  43. Thank you David for your comment. Sadly H and M went into administration shortly after this post. They had a management buyout but stopped this design shortly afterwards.