A “yunomi” is a handle-less Japanese teacup used for daily tea drinking. The tradition of making Yunomi has evolved since its conception in the 16th century and contemporary artists have expanded on the variety of styles and shapes, departing from the traditional footed, cylindrical style.
Artist/Curator Terri Saulin sent out invitations to a select group of artists during 2023’s Pride Month to honor our LGBTQA+ friends. Using “Meoto Yunomi “ as a vehicle to challenge heteronormative power dynamics, artists were asked to create two cups that absolutely have to be together…. or not.
“Meoto Yunomi” are often given as wedding gifts in Japan, the larger cup symbolizes the ‘husband’ and the smaller cup the 'wife.’ Traditional partnering ideas are firmly rooted in misogyny and oppression, a system that denies power to women and overall devalues effeminacy or anything viewed as submissive, diminutive. Why not find value in powerlessness? Tradition is tricky. Sometimes the wife is taller than the husband, sometimes the Mx’s are the same size. Sometimes, one feels they must stand alone. Why not decide to stick with love?
I began my love affair with clay circa 1990, after a long and loving relationship with Printmaking, as a student at Moore College of Art & Design. In a few years, I wanted to go to graduate school and continue teaching full time. In preparation I bought a subscription to Ceramics monthly and started taking classes at The Clay Studio in Philadelphia. In 1997, David Gary Wright wrote an article called “The Provocative Cup.” The article hit deep and immediately became part of my teaching practice.
In the article, Wright shares several experiences of how magical and compelling a cup can be. The encounter that resonated with me was with a cup by Clay Mobile Founder Kathryn Narrow. Wright talks about a time in his life when he was traveling, feeling remote and lonely. He visited a craft shop and found a cup made by his old friend Kathryn. Feeling the cup in his hands brought back the sweet, warm memory of being safely back at home. Wright describes this revelation as experiencing “…a profound emotional and spiritual connection between Kathryn (the maker), the earth and myself.
Looking back at that moment later, I realized that the cup is clearly the most intimate, timeless, useful pot; it is the one pottery form that transcends time, culture, class and tradition. That encounter with Kathryn’s cup marks the first time I recall a pot having had that effect on me. I soon came to the realization that pots can have a powerful emotional impact on potters and patrons alike. Making and using pots helps keep us all closer to those things that are "real” and important in this world.”
Each time I return to this article, I remember the loneliness and fear I experienced when I went back to Grad school and took some life changing risks, from partnered to single to married to single. The moment I began my relationship with The Clay Studio I felt the same wash of safety and comfort. Kathrn Narrow sold me my first bag of clay. I still have a few awkward forms made from that earth and I just can’t part with them. As soon as I was able, I purchased one of Katherine’s cups. A gorgeous porcelain round, on a high foot, blue green, pregnant bud, with a hint of yellow. Imagine drinking from an almost open magnolia blossom, cupped between two hands. I was hooked. I began a life of stewardship, adding special new friends as often as I could. If I had the fortune of selling a piece, the gift came back in another treasured cup for the collection. Then the internet happened… and I acquired an “Accidental Meoto Yunomi.” Mimi Logothetis and Harris Deller got married, well, the cups did. Guess who is taller?
All proceeds from Workshops, Tea and Wine Sales and IG Auctions will be split between The Mazzoni Center & WIlliams Way
Opening Reception - December 2, 6-9 p.m.
Featuring live music w/ J Strings - Tea Sale
Closing Reception - February 3, 6-9 p.m. Open to all!
- Soup & Mulled Wine
- Register for $20.00 in the shop & receive a surprise cup or bowl when you visit February 3rd Closing Reception. Limited to 50 people.
Ceramics Workshops / TBA