Picker Cups

The room mugs

When I first saw them at a garage sale a few summers back, I didn’t realize they were picker mugs.

As I took a closer look however, it became obvious to me that just like the illustrations on the cups I had dug up, holding new found items at garage sales was a journey through people’s lives, a journey I would otherwise never experience if it were not for the sharing of objects.



I love the idea that each mug is a room; it is like visiting someone’s apartment.

I love visiting, glimpsing other people’s places, their lives. People can choose to show you their feelings, their thoughts, their hopes and dreams. They can choose to keep that information to themselves because it is sensitive, or sometimes because they may not know where to begin to share it.

But rooms have no inhibitions, instead they are capable of showing you what the person may have forgotten about themselves or have yet to realize, yet  to become.

Like traveling, a glimpse into someone else’s room can help you discover things you did not know about. It can lead you to see the unseen, offer a different perspective on things you already knew and reveal elements about yourself of which you were not aware.


The bathroom mug

This is my least favourite mug of the four but it has its charm, and as I look at it I am reminded it pays to look past what may appear at first to be mundane or uninteresting features.


Spray bottles, detergent and other cleaning supplies depicted here do not excite me simply because I do not crave a spic and span environment. I appreciate order because it is restful and  I admire people who can devote real time to maintaining it but at my house you are as likely to find earrings under the couch as you would on my night stand.


But in the illustration on the mug, the towels rolled up in their cubicles suggest spa like peacefulness and the shampoo bottles on their quiet shelf call to mind soothing and luxurious beauty treatments.


The tub is covered in bright tiles, the kind I can easily imagine to be Italian ceramics which would display a more colourful scheme than the ones I usually encounter in North America. I can imagine slipping out of cool porcelain surfaces and walking to a balcony overlooking the placid waters of Lake Como. The huge mountains surround you, holding you still, while the endless lake promises eternity.


The kitchen mug

This is clearly my favourite. Not because I am a talented cook, I have my days but I must admit I enjoy the art of eating more than that of creating food. Too often I find that my efforts in the kitchen are fumbling and time consuming and I quickly lose patience. Occasionally, when there is time, I like to set out on a culinary adventure. There, amongst old fashioned crockery, flour and butter blend with pumpkin puree in a satisfying mix of colour and texture to produce waffles.

Mostly, I am fond of this mug  because it is about socializing. It is about taking in beauty and sharing it. Here in this illustrated kitchen, I can imagine the inhabitant bringing friends home after a night out spent at sidewalk cafes, talking, sharing a bottle of wine. I imagine they are in Paris and that they have been drinking in the sounds and smells of the evening, distant departure signals from the barges on the Seine, the  scent of herbs and simmering sauces from the nearby bistros. The lull of the water slapping against the embankment, the warm glow of lamplight from the surrounding apartments reminding them that they are not alone, even after they go home, others also continue their stories, seeking, finding, reflecting. They are not alone.


They have now come to this kitchen table to drink more wine and will tell stories into the night.


The pan on its gas cooker, the bowl full of brown eggs, inspire visions of breakfast. Sunny eggs frying in the early morning, melting butter scenting the air. Wholesome, nourishing moments, the day before us.

The paper towels on their stand and a rack to keep the measuring spoons. This is a humble kitchen, uncomplicated and precious for the peace it provides.


The coffee in its press, the inviting cups for a friend who has come calling in the early morning after a troubled night, knowing they can count on the dweller for a sympathetic ear.The liquid rich and penetrating with its grave and velvet notes, might also be provided for an artist after they have finished their performance at a local theatre. She sits at the table, pink from sharing stories with others through art, the glamour of the night still clinging to her like spangles. ‘One more cup of coffee, just one more’ she says while she hangs on to the magic.

And so it is with us this moment, hang on to this magic, til next time!