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Stoic Pottery: How Ancient Philosophy Inspires Cosmic Mugs

“Watch the stars in their courses and imagine yourself running alongside them. Think constantly on the changes of the elements into each other, for such thoughts wash away the dust of earthly life.” – Marcus Aurelius, quoted in “The Daily Stoic”

The Ceramic process is almost like magic. Clay, water and earth elements change through fire to create gorgeous coffee mugs.

“As cosmologist Neil deGrasse Tyson has explained, the cosmos fills us with complicated emotions. On the one hand, we feel an infinitesimal smallness in comparison to the vast universe; on the other, an extreme connectedness to this larger whole.” – Ryan Holiday, quoted in “The Daily Stoic”

Have you ever wondered why I call them “Cosmic Mugs” (cosmicmugs.com) instead of “galaxy” or “nebula” or “stellar” mugs? Art is complicated, and “cosmic” seems like a better word to convey all the complexities inherent to pottery vs. factory made mugs.

“Stoicism” helps me wrestle with these ideas. It helps me ask, “What is most appropriate and honest?” It helps me realize that pottery can be tough, and that even if I get a bad batch of pots, I can recover and make more. If pots have rough textures, that might require building an entire section of our website devoted to explaining it. As renowned artist Richard Bresnahan says,

“It’s 1/3 the artist, it’s 1/3 the material and it’s 1/3 the firing. If you think that you’re going to expect to have control over the 1/3 of the firing, you’re going to be always disappointed.”

– Richard Bresnahan, “The Taste of Clay”

If you’re wrestling with ideas in your own art or struggles in your own life, you might benefit from stoic ideas too. This giveaway that my friends at The Daily Stoic are hosting is a great way to get introduced:

Daily Stoic Giveaway

These two Cosmic Mugs were mailed off to two modern day Stoic authors: Ryan Holiday and Tim Ferriss

The Daily Stoic (dailystoic.com) has helped me look more deeply into why I wake up everyday and make pots. You can learn about how a contemporary stoic book called, “The Obstacle Is The Way” helped me train for the pottery Guinness World Recoreds title here:

How Meditation Helped Me Set A Pottery World Record

Stoicism sounds boring, but the benefits in my life and pottery career have been remarkable. This giveaway has a bunch of amazing “stoic” items and it’s a great way to get your feet wet in how these ideas might be able to help you:

Daily Stoic Giveaway

No, I’m not getting paid to say this, I’m just a huge fan and have seen remarkable benefits in my own life and business. If you are struggling with anything, then I just thought you might benefit stoicism too. Here is what I find most useful and valuable:

Watch Joel Cherrico set the pottery Guinness World Records title for ‘most pots thrown in one hour by an individual’

What resources or tools help you get through tough times in your life?

Leave a comment below before Monday 8/28/2017 telling us what resources or tools have helped you get through tough times in your life. We’ll pick the best comment and send the winner one World Record Pottery Planter, ($179 value: $159 + 20 average packing and shipping) shipped almost anywhere globally, totally free!

To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow up to 48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are okay with receiving our email newsletter before you leave a comment. We will pick winners before the following Wednesday around 2pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free. 

Cherrico Pottery BIG Pots at Midwest Art Festivals

Art in Bayfront Park

Joel Cherrico will be exhibiting and performing live pottery demonstrations on his York Kick Wheel August 19th and 20th in Duluth, Minnesota at Art in Bayfront Park. One of Joel’s best BIG pottery jars will be on display, as well as a few of his best Cosmic Mugs. This will be Joel’s 7th year participating in this festival. He will also be crafting Cosmic Mugs live and anything else he’s inspired to throw, while breathtaking Lake Superior shimmers in the background.

Just one of his Big Pots will be on display in Duluth. They take a LONG time to make. In a hurried month, Joel can throw, fire and finish 100+ Cosmic Mugs in under a week and have them ready to order, but one Big Pot takes several months from start to finish. Just the drying takes a few months! Read about how Joel creates these beautiful works of art in a blog post he wrote back in 2012:

Big Pots deserve to be displayed on a stand as beautiful as the Big Pots themselves. So, Joel and his team have been creating beautiful wooden slabs over the last month to use as pedestals. The pedestals also help to level the jars on uneven ground. Four different types of wood slabs were harvested in sustainable ways from the St. John’s Arboretum with the help of a full-time forest technician: Aspen, Maple, Sugar Maple and White Oak. Slabs were dried slowly in Joel’s pottery kiln at 100 degrees C. for a few days, and then hand-planed, sanded and finished with love by local woodworker Tom Kuhn.

And yes… that is actually real gold in the bottom right corner of the gorgeous red jar. That is the Cherrico Pottery jar Joel plans to display in Duluth. Hope to see you there!

Millstream Arts Festival

September 24th, Joel’s artistic talent will be on full display when he participates (for the 7th time) in the Millstream Arts Festival, located in his home town, St. Joseph, Minnesota. This is where Joel lives, works and operates Cherrico Pottery. They even generously put his work on billboards around the city.

Joel will be set up with 3-5 more of his best Big Pots right in front of the Local Blend coffee shop, where you can eat an entire meal from his artwork everyday. This interview with the American Craft Council tells how they developed an innovative business model. A few things have changed, but you can still buy pottery everyday and anyone can still go eat an entire meal from innovative pieces of Cherrico Pottery. Hope to see you at Millstream!

Joel is passionate about supporting the community of St. Joseph, and his unique partnership with the Local Blend is a perfect example of that support. If you’re not too busy, come see Joel create his famous Cosmic Mugs and learn more about his artwork by absorbing the energy of his specialty “Big Pots” in person.

“The most important thing is communicating with the user. It is only when the user feels the presence of the hand of the potter that communication truly exists.”

– Warren Mackenzie, 1999 Distinguished Artist Award” The McKnight Foundation

Momentous Pottery Giveaways Inspired by NASA

July 20th, 1969 was when humans first set foot on the Moon. Astronaut Buzz Aldrin (who owns a Cosmic Mug thanks to our friend Stacey at StarTalk) is 87 years young and he’s STILL active on Instagram, reminiscing about the experience:

Joel studies astronauts because it inspires him to filter ideas into is artwork, towards achieving greatness. Astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Col. Chris Hadfield both have Guinness World Records titles. Both directly inspired Joel to attempt and achieve the title for, ‘most pots thrown in one hour by an individual.’

Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield also let us send him a Cosmic Mug. In his book, “An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth” Hadfiled tells how his childhood dream was to walk on the moon. That goal wasn’t reached, but it put him on a path towards successfully becoming an astronaut and achieving his Guinness World Records title for ‘first music video filmed in space.’ Joel studied Hadfield’s work, sent him a Cosmic Mug and got an inspiring letter in return. He said:

We also send free pots to other astronauts occasionally, like Lt. Col. Mark Vande Hei who graduated from Joel’s alma mater CSB/SJU. He is in line for a trip to the International Space Station.

Not the best photo, but hey…that’s a NASA Astronaut enjoying a Cosmic Mug!

“Why climb the highest mountain? … We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills…”

– John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962

Entrepreneurship is one skill that has many of the same core values that propelled the United States to the moon. Entrepreneurs are required to spend years overcoming failures and striving towards success. You can learn how Joel launched and sustained his pottery business immediately after college graduation in this eight part authorship series for American Craft Council:

A Potter’s Journey: The Beginning

🎉🌘🎁🌌☕🏔🎁🌒🎉

Momentous Pottery Giveaways

Houston, we have liftoff! Here’s what you need to know:

If they’re sold out or too expensive for you, don’t worry! Here is another awesome giveaway we just launched, totally free:

Free Giveaway: $680 in Free Cosmic Mugs

  • Cosmic Mug and Moon Mug Giveaway, totally free: $680 in free pottery.
  • Enter for free by simply entering your email.

Joel will also be releasing more pottery later this month: Cosmic Mugs, including $79 Random Cosmic Mugs and $49 Flawed Cosmic Mugs, before August. Stay tuned to the newsletter to get notified about availability first:

cherricopottery.com/newsletter

Asteroid Day: Meteorite Mug Auction and Donation + Asteroid Cup Giveaway

What is Asteroid Day?

We decided not to wish you a “Happy Asteroid Day!” because it’s not really a celebratory day. It’s an international day for the science community to educate and raise awareness on the seriousness of asteroid collisions with Earth. June 30th was chosen to be International Asteroid Day for a reason.

June 30, 1908:

Referred to as the “Tunguska Event,” an asteroid exploded over a Siberian forest causing mass devastation. It was a mystery to natives for decades on what caused this explosion, until scientists stepped in. It’s the largest impact event on Earth ever recorded during human history.  

“You kind of want to know how to move asteroids around – that’s a good thing to be able to do, because one day we’re going to find one with our name on it.”

– Neil deGrasse Tyson

Our friends at StarTalk created a video with some of the best reasons for why it’s important to care about asteroid research. Dr. Tyson is an important science communicator, but he also has a soft spot for art (shown by The Starry Night painting reproduction hanging in his office or the Copper Red Mug that snuck into this interview):

Here at Cherrico Pottery, we donate regularly to The Planetary Society as members and periodically for additional research and understanding of asteroids. You can hear straight from them about the importance of asteroid defense in this video they launched today:

The dinosaurs didn’t have a space program…

We also donate to The B612 Foundation, which is an organization that helps protect Earth from asteroid impacts. We would prefer to not end up like earlier Earth inhabitants, especially since, “It is a statistical certainty that one day the Earth will get hit by a large asteroid.”

Joel Cherrico used inspiration from the cosmos to create amazingly unique Meteorite Mugs. Joel actually models all his Meteorite Mugs after the meteorite named The Willamette Meteorite, located in the American Museum of Natural History.

Here’s your chance to purchase a Meteorite Mug and donate to Asteroid Research and Defense.

  • This Meteorite Mug is being auctioned off on eBay with 50% of the profit being donated to The B612 Foundation in honor of Asteroid Day.

 Giveaways: 9 Free Pots, $290+ Value

 – “Asteroid Cup” $165+ value

–  Set of 4 “Cosmic Shot Cups” going out to 2 different winners:

($126 value: $48 retail + $15 packing and shipping each)

 

You can win this free Asteroid Cup and a set of these Cosmic Shot Cups in honor of Asteroid Day. Simply answer the question below in our comments to enter:

How has science impacted your life?

Leave a comment below before Friday 7/7 telling us how scientific classes, scientific discoveries, or science in general has impacted your life. We’ll pick the best 3 comments and give the winners this Asteroid Cup and 2 sets of shot cups, totally free!

To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are okay with receiving our email newsletter before you leave a comment. We will pick winners Friday around 2pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free. *ENDED: Congrats to our winners Nancy, Valerie, and Lou. Thanks so much to everyone for participating!

Father’s Day, 2017: Reflection and Two Pottery Giveaways

*This is a guest blog post, edited by Joel Cherrico and written by John Fink: CSB/SJU Marketing Intern at Cherrico Pottery. 

Interesting facts about Father’s Day:

  • Father’s Day is the 4th largest card-sending occasion with 72 million sent annually.
  • The average person spends about $115.57 on presents for their father, which totals to about $12,700,000,000 a year.
  • Claude Monet is widely considered the father of Impressionism. Monet’s art represents nature abstractly, in ways that communicate far more beauty than what human eyes can see.
“Water-Lily Pond and Weeping Willow” by Claude Monet, next to a Cosmic Mug surrounded by a Star Cluster in the Large Magellanic Cloud, captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” – Unknown

Joel Cherrico’s father, Gene Cherrico, played an important role during one of his most defining life moments.

Joel and his dad were on a road trip just before he launched “Cherrico Pottery” back in 2010. Joel was hesitant about taking on the risk of starting his own company, investing his $3,000 of savings and committing to a small business loan after graduation, instead of getting a job like all of his friends.

“Owning your own business is one of the best ways to personal wealth.” – Gene Cherrico

Without Papa Cherrico’s wise words of wisdom, and his love and support, Cosmic Mugs might never have existed.

“I can discover something in the Universe, but if I didn’t do it, somebody else after me will discover that exact same thing. Whereas in the Arts, what you create, no one who was ever born before you or will be born from your death onwards, will ever compose exactly the same thing you did.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

You can learn more about the origins of Cosmic Mugs from Joel’s authorship for American Craft Council: “A Potter’s Journey.” Learn why Joel chose an art major, how he developed a business plan, launched a small business and has operated his pottery business for seven+ years in this American Craft Council “Web Exclusive” blog series:

A Potter’s Journey

Another person who Joel drew inspiration from while growing his business was Robert Herjavec.

Herjavec is an immigrant from Croatia who owns a world renowned computer security company in Canada. He is most known for being a “Shark” on the hit TV show “Shark Tank” (Joel has repeatedly submitted 1st and 2nd round applications to the show). In the video below, Robert shared his story of his father’s immense sacrifices to give him a better life.

Also in honor of Father’s Day, we’re launching two pottery giveaways:

  • Giveaway #1 is for new Cosmic Mug and Moon Mug customers.
  • Giveaway #2 is for everyone.

Giveaway #1 of 2: “Lunar Bowl” $325+ value

*(ENDED 11pm 6/19/2017. Winner: Sherry E.)

Today and tomorrow only, we are releasing all of our current stock of Cosmic Mugs and our current stock of Moon Mugs. Anyone who buys one or more of these new Cosmic Mugs or Moon Mugs released today and tomorrow will be entered into a drawing. One random customer will win this lunar bowl, included with their order at no extra charge.

If they’re sold out or too expensive for you, don’t worry! Joel will be releasing more Cosmic Mugs, including $79 Random Cosmic Mugs, $49 Flawed Cosmic Mugs and Moon Mugs before July. Stay tuned! For you pottery fans who are waiting for these great deals and on a budget, we’ve got something special for you too.

 Giveaway #2 of 2: Free World Record Pottery

You can win one of three pieces of art history from Joel’s epic achievement with the Guinness World Records™ title for ‘most pots thrown in one hour by an individual.’ Simply answer the questions below in our comments to enter:

What is the most valuable lesson your father taught you? How did it shape you into the person you are today? 

If you didn’t grow up with a father, please feel free to leave a comment about a lesson any other important person in your life taught you. Leave a comment below before this Friday telling us. We’ll pick the best 3 comments and give each winner a random World Record Pot and even more pottery ($767.00 value: $159 World Record Pottery + $20 packing and shipping average each, Spiral Bowl for $185 + $20 shipping, a copy of “A Potter’s Book” by Bernard Leach at $25 average value) given to 5 random winners, totally free!

To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are okay with receiving our email newsletter before you leave a comment. We will pick winners Friday around 2pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free. *ENDED: Congrats to our winners Carol, Jerry, Olivia, Ashlei and Steph. Thanks so much to everyone for participating!

Birthday Pots: 29 Freebies

Cool facts about the number 29:

  • The atomic number of Copper (Cu)
  • The number of years it takes the planet Saturn to orbit the Sun
  • Iowa is the 29th state in the US- I grew up in Iowa! No, I didn’t grow up on a farm 🌽🌽
  • My age. Today is my 29th birthday!

To celebrate, we’re giving away 29 pots, totally free. Plus, we put together a bunch of discount deals and one donation to a great cause:

30% off Cosmic Bowls + one FREE World Record Planter

50% off Remaining World Record Planters

– Coupon Code: GWR50 valid through Friday.

Nuka Cobalt Vase + 50% donation to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with $50 starting bid.

($425 Value: $385 + $40 packing and shipping average)

🎁🎉 Birthday Pottery Giveaway 🎁🎉

29 Free Pots Going To 9 Winners, $771.00 Value, Totally Free:

  • Sets of 4 “Cosmic Shot Cups” going out to 6 different winners ($378 value: $48 retail + $15 packing and shipping each)
  • Two “Lunar Cups” going out to two different winners ($214 value: $95 retail + $12 packing and shipping each)
  • World Record Planter #29: ($179 value: $159 retail + $20 packing and shipping)

Enter the Giveaway:

What was the last thing you gifted or donated to someone, and why?? Leave a comment below before this Friday telling us one thing you gifted to a friend, donated to a local food shelter, non-profit organization, school, church, anything! We’ll pick the best 9 comments and give each winner a certain selection of the above 29 pots ($771.00 value) totally free.

To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment, or the moderator will not approve your comment or include you in the giveaway. Please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Please allow 24-48 hours for your comment to appear. You must also be on our email newsletter distribution list to qualify, so please make sure you are okay with receiving our email newsletter before you leave a comment. We will pick winners Friday around 2pm Central and you will receive the pottery shipped to you nearly anywhere globally, totally free.

*UPDATE 5/12: ENDED. Congrats Kristie, J.B.S., Diandra, James H., Dorthy, Michael, Amy, Leslie and Stephanie! You should have an email waiting in your inbox. Thanks so much to everyone who participated! I’m truly blown away by all of the kindness that all of you shared about the ways you spread generosity. Thanks again! – Joel

Coupons and Giveaway Expire Friday 5/12

Please give us a couple days to pack and ship, because I plan to spend my birthday busting out a few fresh pots and guitar riffs.

“There’s something about the physicality of clay…a worthless material to most people. Contractors can’t build in it, farmers can’t grow in it. The only worth it has is what you and I give it.”

– Don Reitz, quoted in this video interview.

store.cherricopottery.com/big-pots