The Cost of a Dinner Out... vs. the Price of a Handmade Mug

The price of a handmade mug.

You and a friend walk into a potter's studio, or a shop that sells handmade goods. You gravitate to the beautifully crafted porcelain mug... it is quiet just like you like your mornings. It's light green celadon color is deliciously soft looking, and has a translucent quality about it. You pick it up... oh so comfortable. You look at the price, and you put it back down, and say to yourself, I can't spend $45 on a mug. You look around a little more to be kind, you say thank you to the potter/shop keeper and walk out the door. You walk down the street and say to your friend, lets get something to eat. Your favorite restaurant is busy that night so you wait at the bar and buy two drinks until a table is available. Finally you are seated and hungry by this point so you order a small appetizer, (and so those drinks won't go to your head). You and your friend chit chat... what a great food this place has... it's is such a pleasure to come here for our monthly get together. The dinners come... delicious as usual...too full for dessert as usual. You pay the $90 bill without thinking.

So what's wrong with this picture?

Granted a restaurant has a really high overhead, buying food that can spoil if business is slow, paying all of the staff, paying rent, insurance, upkeep of the building and equipment. The price of a night out is justified.

Now what about that $45 mug? It was the same price as one dinner, one night, one experience. That mug that you walked away from will last for years to come, and will bring many experiences as you sit each morning with your favorite brew. It has the capacity to enhance the quiet comfort of morning, it feels good in your hands, and looks pretty darn nice with your kitchen decor.

So yes the price is justified for a handmade mug, one that is well balanced, comfortable to hold, and fits your taste perfectly. The time and experience it takes to make a well crafted mug takes years, not minutes. If you have ever taken a pottery class you will understand how difficult it is to make a mug, pull a handle and join the two together to make one seamless functional, comfortable mug. The potter also has overhead-- clay, glazes, rent, insurance, kilns, wheels, upkeep of the studio... and needs to make a living wage. So much goes into that one little handmade mug.

On April 28th-29th the 14th annual Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail will be taking place at my studio and 8 other pottery studios in western Massachusetts. It's a driving tour... a way to see our studios, watch how pottery is made, and the perfect time to buy directly from the potter. We are all full time professional potters, meaning we make our living from making beautiful, functional items to enhance others daily lives. If you do come for a visit, think about that dinner vs. a handmade mug.  If you can't make it to the Pottery Trail you can take a look around on my shop page at

Green Mug Lucy Fagella.
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