Keeper — Handmade coffee mug

This is the mug I’ve been drinking my morning coffee out of for more than 12 years now.

I bought it impulsively when Karen Mary and I were browsing in the gift shop of our local art museum. They had a display of items from a local ceramic artist, and I was immediately drawn to the mug. I liked the look of it, and when I picked it up, it was a very comfortable fit for my hand. The rim was tapered to my liking, lacking the blunt thickness that had been a deal-breaker on some other handmade mugs I had otherwise liked.

I don’t remember what I paid for it, but I’m sure it was significantly more than I could have picked a coffee mug up for elsewhere. I was buying it with the idea that it would be a keeper — I would take care of it and use it for a long time.

My care to keep it consists of handwashing it rather than putting it in the dishwasher, more a gesture of affection than action likely to make it last longer. I also keep track of it, storing it in the same place next to the coffee pot, and I never travel with it in the car. 

There’s value in seeking out quality items and taking care of them. I believe mindful consumption — buying things thoughtfully and taking care of them so they last — is one of the keys to a satisfying lifestyle of appreciation and engagement.

The satisfaction of approaching things this way is one of the underpinning values of this blog. In the case of my coffee mug, I often appreciate that I’m drinking my morning coffee at my desk out of a chunk of clay that was carefully shaped, glazed and fired by an artist to become something special for my enjoyment. That makes it a keeper for me. 

Alan Miles

You might also like: Keeper — Citrus juicer and Keeper — Ona’s hand chopper.

Do you have a “keeper” you’d like to share with us? We’d love to see and hear about it!

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