Why are Joel’s mugs called “Cosmic Mugs” anyways? Wikipedia says, “Cosmic is anything pertaining to the cosmos” and the cosmos “is the Universe regarded as a complex and orderly system; the opposite of chaos.”
Our Universe is vast and mysterious, far more mysterious than what human beings can comprehend. But the cosmos also defines anything close and familiar in our modern, complex society, like a cup of coffee.
These “cosmic quotes” tell about just some reasons why Joel Cherrico chose to model the cosmos with clay and fire:
Every Cosmic Mug is crafted with this purpose in mind. Joel’s goal is to give every owner of a Cosmic Mug the chance to touch, taste and reflect on the Universe every morning by doing something as simple as drinking a cup of coffee.
Joel brings the cosmos into your home by choosing glazes that are made up of the same elements that are found in the outermost galaxies in our cosmos. Check out this early video below where Joel was first beginning to develop the ideas behind Cosmic Mugs a couple years ago:
Spirals are seen throughout the Universe and are at the foundation of Cosmic Mugs, which are formed by twisting clay on a pottery wheel. Scientists don’t know why spirals are so common, but like most things in the Universe, it is a mystery waiting to be unraveled. Read more about why spirals are so common in our Universe in this Discover Article.
One of Joel’s newest pieces in his Big Jars and Wall Platters collection brandishes a spiral as a stunning Cosmic Wall Platter. Joel modeled it after what astrophysicists have determined about the Milky Way’s spiral shape, with subtle textures and colors that are entirely an expression of the art.
Do you have a favorite quote about the cosmos? Share in the comments please!
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.
“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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
*This is a guest blog post, edited by Joel Cherrico and written by Macy Kelly: CSB/SJU Marketing Intern at Cherrico Pottery. In this post, Macy addresses fan questions from Cherrico Pottery Facebook Live videos about why Joel uses traditional kick-wheels instead of electric, motorized wheels like most potters.
You may be wondering why Joel Cherrico kicks his pottery wheel around and around, instead of simply pressing a motorized pedal and letting the wheel do the work. He learned to make pottery on an electric wheel in high school and understands that it might be easier, faster and less stress on the body, but he chooses otherwise.
The Karatsu kick wheel was handmade by a local woodworker who used wood from a local Maple tree. Sanded, finished wood is beautiful, which is often why Joel decides to perform his pottery craft on this wheel. The bench was made from White Cedar from the Minnesota North Shore.
When Joel broke the Guinness World Recordstitle for “most pots thrown in one hour by an individual” the Karatsu kick wheel was a key factor. Previous potters who attempted the record all used electric wheels, and the previous record holder used an electric wheel to throw 150 pots in one hour. You can watch Joel set the new record on his Karatsu-style wheel here,breaking the previous record by nine pots.
Unlike electric wheels, you can’t just crank the motor and power through the clay. It takes training, balance and a deep understanding of how to throw pottery while kicking at the same time. Artistry and athleticism are equally important. 40 pounds is extremely light for a pottery wheel, so there is no momentum to keep the wheel spinning unless it is constantly kicked. You can learn how Joel used meditation and intense physical training to accomplish this epic feat.
The wheel is so lightweight that it must be anchored to a board, held in place by the potter’s body. Downward force makes the potter and the wheel joined in the act of throwing.
Karatsu wheels are rare. It’s tough to buy or find one anywhere. You can learn how they’re made by reading “Body of Clay, Soul of Fire”or finding a local wood worker who might be able to craft a replica. You might even be able to reach out to the St. John’s Pottery directly and respectfully inquire about the process of learning how to use and obtain one of these rare wheels, which were originally brought to the Minnesota area by renowned potter Richard Bresnahan.
This awesome YouTube videoshows an artist crafting an Onggi kick wheel, which is a type of precursor to the Karatsu wheel. Onggi wheels have been used for centuries for larger pottery, generally over three feet tall. There are similarities between the two, but both are hard to find for purchase. Any talented crafts person could design and create a gorgeous, functional Karatsu or Onggi-style kick wheel.
York Kick Wheel
The second wheel used to craft Cherrico Pottery is the York kick wheel, shown below. It’s only about 16 inches tall, made from a cement mold around metal bearings. To raise the wheel to a proper throwing height, Joel crafted a Black Walnut top with White Oak risers, which are secured to the wheel like a pottery bat. The 24 inch height helps improve throwing posture, since older potters commonly struggle with back pain from bending over low wheels for decades.
The York weighs around 80 pounds, which is twice as much as the 40 pound Karatsu, but it’s actually more portable. It sits on three steel feet, so it does not need to be bolted down. It can be picked up, moved anywhere and taken apart in two pieces. Easy assembly and light weight make it extremely portable, compared to commonly used Lockerbie kick wheels weighing around 300 pounds each.
The York wheel has been great for performing pottery demonstrations all across the Midwest. In 2013, Joel used it up to five times weekly at local farmers’ markets and art festivals (left photo) and he brings it to Duluth Art in Bayfront Park in front of Lake Superior once annually (right photo).
It was created by Roger York in 2008. Joel purchased it from Mr. York during his sophomore year in college, after they spoke on the phone a few times about Mr. York’s career as a potter and his decision to make wheels. The wheel took him four months to craft and he only charged $250. He was 87 years old. Mr. York published the patent online here for free and you might be able to find one on craigslist someday. If you find one available, please email us here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Most people don’t know how to use this wheel and would gladly sell it for cheap. Joel was recently gifted a second York wheel for free, so he can put it to good use.
The York wheel is considered the “work horse” of Cherrico Pottery because of how this durable tool can travel easily. Rope is wrapped around Joel’s wheel because he used it so much that the thin middle piece (shown below) began to crack. The middle, cement section was wrapped with an entire roll of duck tape for strength, followed by rope for aesthetics.
Both Karatsu and York kick wheels are currently used to create all Cherrico Pottery. Next time you see Joel spinning pottery live on the Cherrico Pottery Facebook page, try and guess which kick wheel he is using.
What is one thing that you have learned from watching Joel throw pottery on his kick wheels in his YouTube or Facebookvideos? Share your newly acquired art knowledge in the comment section below.
Thanks so much for reading this post and for following Cherrico Pottery. Please subscribe to our email newsletter here and leave a comment below before this Friday telling us one thing you have learned about Joel’s pottery or Cherrico Pottery in general. Joel will pick the best comment about the best lesson one person has learned, and pick them to receive one free Cosmic Mug. To enter, you must leave one, genuine comment about something you have actually learned from us, or the moderator will not approve your comment and 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 the newsletter distribution list to qualify. Joel will pick one winner Friday around 6pm Central to get one of our best Cosmic Mugs, totally free. Thanks!
“The problem of producing vital pattern is a very real one to the artist-craftsman. He can no longer depend upon the support and restraint of any particular tradition but must form his own synthesis and invert his own creative designs, for patterns should rise out of the need and experience of today and not from that of yesterday.”
You heard it first: Joel will release another 50 Cosmic Mugs on the 70% off random sale today. Get yours before they sell out again!
Also keep an eye on Cherrico Pottery’s Facebook as Joel will have TWO special live streams running today: unloading the fresh Cosmic Mugs from the kiln and throwing more pottery. You’ve shown your love for them, so we’ll deliver!
**Pssssst: He has already given away two free Cosmic Mugs to viewers of the live streams, so be on the lookout for a chance to win your own!**
A big thanks to all of you for showing your love and support on Joel’s Facebook Live Streams. It has been a wonderful forum for answering questions and getting feedback from you. These also allow him to spend less time in the office and more time doing what he loves in the studio.
Cherrico Pottery would not be where it is today without each and every one of you, so thank you for your continued support of our team.
There is even more excitement for Cherrico Pottery on the horizon: the sale of Guinness World Record Planters! Joel just finished firing a limited run of the planters in that Cosmic glaze you love, and they are STELLAR! Stay tuned for more info about the future sales of all planters in our upcoming newsletters.
“Craft revolves around the maker, and having some relationship with him or her is one of its joys.”
– Monica Moses,“Turn Style,”American Craft Council, July 20, 2014.