11 Cosmic Quotes: Why Are They Called “Cosmic Mugs” Anyways?

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:

#1: Author Ryan Holiday captures this quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson in his book “Ego Is The Enemy.”

#2: Bill Nye (The Science Guy) shares his favorite scientific fact on CBS “This Morning.”

#3: This quote from Carl Sagan comes from his famous and humbling video properly named “Pale Blue Dot.”

#4: Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to travel to space, had this to say about how art and science are related.

#5: One of the greatest minds in our history, Albert Einstein wrote this passage about his respect for the cosmos and the mystery it represents.

#6: Stephen Hawking, a leader in the scientific field of cosmology, ends a talk with this memorable quote.

#7: President John F Kennedy was committed to further space exploration, science and innovation. This quote is from his Inaugural Address.

 #8: Galileo Galilei, a pioneer in the field of astronomy, had this to say about mystery, science and art.

#9: Chris Hadfield directly wrote this quote to Joel about his Cosmic Mugs. Check out this Blog Post for more information about Hadfield.

#10: Charles Bolden was part of the crew that successfully deployed the Hubble Telescope. Hubble’s incredible pictures inspire Cosmic Mugs.

#11: The last quote is written by Joel himself in the magazine CeramicsTECHNICAL.

Art that lets you taste the Universe everyday

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.

Astronaut Mark Vande Hei with a Cosmic Mug gifted from Joel. Vande Hei and Joel Cherrico are both alumni of College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. Astronaut Vande Hei is currently enjoying a tour on the International Space Station during the writing of this post. His “favorite office mug” stayed here on Earth.

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!

Image sources: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10

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

Cosmic Friday: Free Cosmic Mugs, Studio Shot and One Cool Quote

As a thanks for subscribing to my email list, I decided to send one Cosmic Mug to one random person each week- totally free. My goal is to give more people the experience of using this new, valuable type of artwork. This week’s winner has an email waiting in your inbox, ready to receive this free mug anywhere in the continental United States!

Cosmic Mug, Planetary Nebula, Filter

Sorry I can’t afford to ship free mugs worldwide yet. If you’re dying to get your hands on a Cosmic Mug, I have just a few jewels available in my online store here. Feel free to use this 20% off coupon code as a thanks for subscribing to my mailing list: COSMIC20

Otherwise, be sure to enter into the Triple Cosmic Mug Giveaway running through the end of August- definitely your best odds at winning a free mug!

By November, I’m planning to have a HUGE selection of Cosmic Mugs available at HUGE price discounts, ready in time for Christmas delivery.

Studio Shot

Each “Cosmic Friday” you will get a short email where I give away one free Cosmic Mug, show one cool process shot from my studio and share a quote that I found during my artistic research. Enjoy!

cosmic platter
The first “Cosmic Platter” – a huge wall piece with dark, starry night glazing…the first of many!

“In many ways, fame is the industrial disease of creativity. It’s a sludgy byproduct of making things…It’s my job as an artist to be understood, and I would rather fight for the audience to have a good experience.”

Mike Myers, qtd. in Marc Maron’s podcast.


Cosmic Mugs: Pottery Inspired by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope

After creating my newest body of artwork, “Cosmic Mugs” with glazes inspired by images from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, I find myself asking, “Why?” Why try to show huge galaxies and nebulae on a small mug? I turned to mainstream science advocate Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson for guidance. During the Origins Project at Arizona State University, Dr. Tyson critiqued an iconic painting by Vincent van Gogh: The Starry Night.

“I want and I need the artist to take me to new places, and the new place van Gogh took me is not the sky as it is, but the sky as he felt it. And the more of us that feel  the universe, the better off we will be in this world.”

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Photo by Andy DeLisle, Arizona State University
Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, photo by Andy DeLisle, Arizona State University
Cherrico Pottery Cosmic Mug, Hubble Nebula, The Starry Night
Cosmic Pottery Mug, “Emmission Nebula” (detail) captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and “The Starry Night” (detail) by Vincent van Gogh

Unlike a painting or sculpture, pottery mugs are meant to be touched, picked up and brought to the mouth and nose. How many other types of artwork do you actually touch with such intimate parts of your body? I want my “Cosmic Mugs” to communicate beauty like a van Gogh painting, while deeply engaging multiple senses. Why does art that hangs on a wall deserve more value than art that holds coffee or tea? I make these “Cosmic Mugs” to challenge that notion by letting people experience fine art in daily life.

How many brush strokes are in a van Gogh painting? Thousands and thousands! How do my simple coffee mugs relate when they have only a few brush strokes?

image 07, Cropped Cosmic Mug Spiral Gradated Background

Complexity is revealed in the kiln firing. Raw earth metals like iron, copper and cobalt are mixed with water and brushed onto the pot. Massive energy is needed to fire each pot to 2400 degrees F, melting glaze chemicals together into a hard, glassy surface. I give up control, letting the kiln melt glazes into an abstract painting that I can never fully predict.

image 04, Cosmic Mug, Pottery In the Sun on the Deck, Cherrico Pottery

Will my glazes ever compare to the complexity of a Hubble image? This photo of the Andromeda galaxy has 1.5 billion pixels and you would need 600 HD TV screens to see the true photo!

Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy

Looking closely at each pottery mug gives us a deeper understand of how Hubble images manifest as abstract glaze paintings. It shouldn’t look identical, but it should feel similar.

image 01, Cosmic Mug and Glaze Detail and the Star Cluster NGC 2074 in the Large Magellanic Cloud, Cherrico Pottery, Hubblesite.org

image 03, Cosmic Mug and NGC 4038 and 4039, Antennae Galaxies, Cherrico Pottery, Hubblesite.org

Image 14, cosmic mugs in front of magellanic cloud and planetary nebula

Cosmic Mugs are…

  • Durable: Stoneware pottery is very hard and meant to last a lifetime.
  • Functional: 100% non-toxic and dishwasher safe.
  • Handcrafted: I make each pot from a lump of Stoneware clay on a pottery wheel.
  • Complex: Every mug is brushed with up to 5 different glaze colors.
  • Earthen: Raw iron, copper and cobalt are harvested from the earth & fired in a kiln to 2400 degrees F to seal colors with silica glaze for non-toxic, food-safe surfaces.
  • On of a Kind: Each firing results in glazes that I can never duplicate exactly.

Cosmic Mug with Whipped Cream Coffee Drink and Hands and Red Nails, Cherrico Pottery

We can look closely with detail shots, extreme zooms, and even a microscope to get a better understanding of the subtle textures that can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Cosmic Pottery Mug, Stoneware Glaze Detail, Cherrico Pottery, 2015
Photo by Marissa Deml

Cherrico Pottery, Cosmic Mug, Cosmos, Microscope, Pottery, 2015

Cosmic Pottery, Detail, Microscope Glaze, Photo by Jon Cahil
Cosmic Mug detail under 20X magnification, Photo by Jon Cahill

Even simply enjoying a cup of coffee outdoors in bright sunlight can reveal new subtleties.

Cosmic Mug, Handmade Ceramic Pottery, Cherrico Pottery, 2015

Fan Photography, Noska (1)

Hubble images are free for anyone to use in the public domain, as long as proper credit is given. I sent a mug to the Space Telescope Science Institute as a thanks for freely providing such beautiful images, and hopefully to build bridges between art & science. Cosmic Mugs, Hubble Space Telescope Institute, Cherrico Pottery, 2015

Stay tuned for just a few new jewels popping up in my online store in the coming months!

Thanks for reading! Check out my Instagram to stay updated with my newest pottery:

Cherrico Pottery, Instagram, 2015



Cosmic Pottery Mugs: How One Tweet Increased my Website Traffic by 3000% in One Day

Cosmic Arnold, Cropped

“Why is Arnold Schwarzenegger holding a Cosmic Mug?” I’d say that’s a fair question. Stay tuned for details…

Tim Ferriss is the first celebrity to show me that he understands the value of handmade pottery as fine art. Last month, he let me mail him a couple mugs. As a thanks, he sent a tweet to his one million+ Twitter followers and 278,000+ Facebook fans. This led to 3,507 people going to my website in one day- WOAH!

Tim Ferriss, Joel Cherrico Pottery, Cosmic Mug, Hubble Space Telescope, 2015

Cherrico Pottery, Tim Ferriss, Cosmic Mugs, 2015

If you haven’t heard of Tim Ferriss, he’s an amazing writer and entrepreneur. His book,“The Four Hour Workweek” changed my life. He inspired me to apply to break a Guinness World Record (which you’ll hear more about in the coming weeks!) and hooked me up with an order of over 2,000 Cosmic Mugs.

This week, Tim interviewed Arnold Schwarzenegger on his podcast. It’s hilarious and inspiring, you should listen to it here on iTunes. In fact, if you just go to his website and check it out, I’ll e-mail you a $20 gift certificate for free pottery. There’s no catch, I’m just doing this as a thanks to Tim, to hopefully turn some of you onto his work. It’s also a thanks to any of you who are interested enough to read about my work! Here’s what to do:

1.) Just check out Tim’s podcast through this link: http://fourhourworkweek.com/arnold

2.) Email me at joel@cherricopottery.com and tell me, “I checked out Tim Ferriss’ site!” That’s it! This is the honor system, but I hope you check it out. If you enjoy my story, I think you will enjoy spending a little more time seeing what Tim is all about.

3.) If done before Friday 2/6/15 at 6pm, I will reply to your email with a custom coupon code for $20 free pottery, good for anything in my online store, with no expiration date.

Thanks for reading! Check out my Instagram to stay updated with my newest pottery:

Cherrico Pottery, Instagram, 2015