Maybe you turn to it first thing when you wake up or perhaps you keep it at your side all day long—a good mug isn’t hard to come by. But a favorite mug? Now that’s a rare honor.
Save for wedding china or family heirlooms, most of us aren’t emotionally attached to our tableware—so why is it that when we need a cup of tea (or cocoa or coffee), we inevitably always reach for the exact same vessel? To an extent, a plate is a plate is a plate is a plate. But a mug? It’s personal.
Mugs are embedded in our daily routines, well past traditional mealtimes, and they serve more than just a beverage. A cup (and its contents) can energize, soothe, heal, and cheer up. In fact, simply holding one is an inherently comforting act. Mugs are to kitchen cabinets as Nancy Meyers films are to cinema.
Yours could be a souvenir, gift, treat-yourself splurge, or just an ordinary object that, over time, developed the same kind of intimate connection that a childhood stuffed animal or family recipe has. Simply put: No two people’s mugs are their go-tos for the same reasons—and that’s pretty heartwarming. Here, a few creatives share what makes their vessel so special.
My favorite mug is by the talented ceramist Ivy Weinglass. It features my flower doppelgänger: the eternally optimistic black-eyed Susan. I enjoy using pieces around the home that are made by friends, especially friends who are lovely human beings. It really resonates with my ethos to only purchase things that are crafted with love and intention. —Susan Alexandra, fashion designer
One of my good friends picked up a mug for me as a birthday present last year from M.A Studio, which was founded by a Mexican multidisciplinary artist working in Mexico City. It’s in the shape of an abstract face, with two different-size handles as ears on either side. It’s extremely delicate because it was fired at a low temperature and is burnished instead of glazed. Apparently, this is how pottery was traditionally made in Mexico. With that in mind, I don’t drink anything out of it! I keep it on my shelf as a mini sculpture and a reminder of my friendship and the beauty of artisanal techniques and exploration, something I am trying to bring more of into my own work. —Sophie Lou Jacobsen, designer
Decorated with illustrations of the Roman god Mercury, Greek god Momus, and Roman goddess Venus, my current favorite mug is one by Astier de Villatte in collaboration with John Derian. I picked it up from de Villatte’s enchanting Paris store near the Louvre last December, in between meetings for a project I’m working on in the city. I love anything to do with classical mythology, and I’m a big fan of the shop’s elegant ceramics, so this one was a no-brainer. I keep it in my North London studio, and it’s used daily for endless cups of strong English tea. —Luke Edward Hall, designer
#TheMug from East Fork is worth the hype—you definitely didn’t hear that here first. Mine is the Equality Mug, which is released annually in June. It’s perfectly petite—I find most American mugs far too big for my minimal caffeine needs (a thimbleful of a matcha latte with lots of ice is my morning cup of choice). Second, it’s got that signature, super-comfy East Fork handle; there are so many terrible mug handles in the world. But most important, all proceeds from its sale go toward the Campaign for Southern Equality, which fights the good fight for our LGBTQ+ family in the South. —Sana Javeri Kadri, founder of Diaspora Co.
Every morning before I go to work, I drink my coffee out of a cup with Tu es le soleil de mon coeur written on it. I originally made it for my husband (then boyfriend) Ayoub—at the time we had a long-distance relationship and crafted cute things for each other. —Laurence Leenaert, founder of LRNCE
I always look forward to sipping my two (or three) double espressos with oat milk and maple syrup out of my super-’80s Dorothy Hafner mug. The added indulgence of a saucer landing pad is a chef’s kiss. —Abby Campbell, founder of Abigail Bell Vintage
Now tell us: What makes your favorite mug your favorite?
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