I have a blue cup that I drink my coffee from each morning. I will not use any other as long at it remains intact, which presently it bravely demonstrates to me by still securely holding hot liquid even though a long vertical fissure emanating from a big chip on the rim could render its vessel-type properties null and void. There are two other chips on its defiant rim too that seem to be holding their own.
I bought the cup in Cowichan Bay what has to be 15 years ago from a woman potter whose studio was down near the water just off the main street. I can’t recall her name, she’s identified only by what I can guess is a letter “J” scored into the clay bottom. I’ve been back since to see if she was still there when I had thoughts of replacing my blue cup when its crack grew longer, but her studio is gone. I searched another potters wares while I was there, picking up and holding several cups but nothing came of it. Nothing felt quite like the one I had.
I don’t go apoplectic if I am forced to use another cup at home. (hmm, the use of the word forced is noted.) It’s just when I am at home my blue cup- nick named by my daughter as Old Chippy- is the one I will always prefer to use. Oddly too I will never drink tea from it. Only coffee. Tea can go into any cup. I don’t care.
Allow me wax poetic over Old Chippy-
It’s a mighty little mug. It is well proportioned and exhibits a lovely shape that could almost be called delicate, but not so much that a man would feel awkward drinking from it. I love this mug. No explicable reason can follow such an arcane statement. It could be the color, or the shape, its size that gives me just the right amount of coffee that I need. It’s not too big and it’s not too small, it’s rim the correct thinness that allows my lips to receive the perfect sip. It could be that the fingers of my right hand are an ideal match for it’s handle, that it’s lower contour fits comfortably nestled when it rests in my cupped left hand. It “cups” well, living up to its primary function.
I believe my cup would feel that I thought it ugly with its cracks and chips and had outlived its purpose for me if I were to begin using a new cup. But this would never be the case. My cups patina only enhances; the chips and crack a testament to duty and purpose and fortitude, proclaiming its brawn and determination to keep engaged in the task that it was made for until it absolutely can no longer.
There is courage displayed there in my cup, and something of The Velveteen Rabbit perhaps.
I am aware that this is an odd attachment but the awareness carries no shame. My cup is made of earthen clay, shaped by a person’s hand, infused with the potters intent and attention, fused by fire and air. I suppose I am remembering what I read in my Findhorn Cookbook given to me by a friend when I was 17, about that community that honored the spirit not only in the growing things in their gardens, but also in the equipment, machines and tools that they used. So I don’t feel too out-of-place, or left field. Or weird.