Clay Studio sponsors Guerrilla Mug Assault to hand out free handmade coffee mugs

By Joy Manning

YOU PROBABLY give little thought to the mug that holds your morning cup of joe.

For some, that vessel is a work of art unto itself.

On Thursday morning, the Clay Studio, a gallery and retail space in Old City dedicated to handmade ceramics, hopes to change the way some local coffee drinkers think about their own usual mugs.

During the studio's Guerrilla Mug Assault, volunteers will gather at six secret locations to surprise morning commuters by replacing their usual cup with a one-of-a-kind handmade mug. Five hundred mugs crafted by 50 artists, many from the Philadelphia area, will be given away.

"We want to start a conversation about the value of handmade things," said Naomi Cleary, communications manager for the Clay Studio. "You can go to Ikea and get a perfectly good mug for $1.50, but we want to see if people feel differently about drinking from a handcrafted work of art."

Recipients of the free mugs, which normally sell for approximately $45 at the studio's store, will be chosen at random. That might seem like a hefty price for an everyday household item, but Cleary believes people may decide handmade mugs are worth the price once they enjoy their quirky, unique gift.

"I have a collection of handmade mugs, and I know the names of all the makers," Cleary said. "It's nice to feel connected to other people, especially today when everything can feel anonymous. Handmade goods - things that don't come from a factory - are like a chain that links one person to another."



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