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TRIBEZA Talk | May 2014

Stand By Your Mug: Ceramicist Ryan McKerley on the perfect coffee cup

As a maker, I approach every object from a very technical and functional perspective. My perfect mug starts off as a cylinder with almost straight sides, as wide as it is tall. Picture the profile view of this mug filling up a square frame. These proportions create stability with no wasted space. I consider every part of the mug that a person touches. The handle should resemble a strap that would make an excellent waist belt—no bumps or sharp edges—and feels good in your hand. A thin, rounded rim is just as important as the handle in creating a pleasant drinking experience. My perfect mug holds 1.5 cups of coffee. I also want an ultra-smooth interior that’s easy to clean.

I make coffee mugs that I would want to use myself. About half the time, I drink coffee out of my work and the rest of the time, I use cups from my large collection of North American studio pottery made by my friends and colleagues.

I don’t insist on “handmade.” A well-designed factory-made coffee mug is always welcome at my house. Lately I have been using two cups that were “made in China.” My Pantone coffee mug (137 C Melon Yellow) always makes me smile in the morning.

Find Ryan’s work at Take Heart (1111 E. 11th Street), Coffee Mug, $35, ryanmckerley.com

Gear Head: Three unique coffee accessories worth considering on South Lamar

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  • Kat and Roger Ceramic Dripper Cup
  • from Spartan, $42
  • 215 S. Lamar, Suite D
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  • Handmade Oaxacan Espresso Sipper
  • by Omar Hernandez
  • at JM DRYGOODS, $18
  • 215 S. Lamar, Suite C
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    Credits

    Photography by Michael A. Muller

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