Time flies. It feels like just yesterday Steven Pressfield and I began emailing back and forth. His books shook me, specifically The War of Art, Turning Pro and The Artist’s Journey. I asked if I could mail him a mug, as a thanks for his inspiration.
Flash forward two years and hundreds of emails between us. Steve is more than just a pen pal. He is deeply curious about where inspiration comes from, and how it serves humanity in the real world.
Steve and I share this obsessive search for meaning, through art. Steve, through writing. Me, through pottery.
Our shared curiosities culminated in a new website that we’re testing:
Steve’s curiosity even led him to discover a mug design in ancient writing by Plutarch. Steve has written about ancient Spartan culture in his world renowned books Gates of Fire, The Warrior Ethos and more. Researching Spartan battle equipment for his writing, Steven became intrigued by one passage from Plutarch’s Life of Lycurgus. The passage is not about shields or swords or armor but about a common drinking mug.
“…the Spartan kothon or drinking cup…is especially valued for use on [military] campaigns. Visibly off-putting elements in [stream or river] water which had to be drunk were concealed by its color, while the dirt in the liquid was trapped in the lip, so that what reached the mouth for drinking was cleaner.”
That 2,000 year old quote, combined with Steve’s inspiration, resulted in a challenge. He challenged me to resurrect this idea, to recreate a modern day version of the ‘kothon’ mug.
If I had to sum up what I’ve learned from Steve’s writing, it’s that even though your source of inspiration must be pure and true, inspiration alone accomplishes nothing. It’s what you do with that inspiration that truly matters.
What are you doing in the real world? How are you contributing to society? How are you serving people?
mugsandbooks.com is our way of experimenting together. We’re testing how our work can serve people by inspiring them on their own artistic journeys.
Of course, it’s not for everyone, because it’s art, and all art is bound by constraints. I wish the mugs could be more affordable.
The art of handmade pottery is constrained by limited quantities. That’s why mugs must start at $100 each, because we chose to make everything here in the USA, in small batches.
Honestly, I’m surprised and happy we were able to get the price down to $100, thanks to a collaboration with Mayco Ceramics in Ohio for the, “CONQUER RESISTANCE” mug paired with Steve’s mega-best-seller (featured on Oprah’s Book Club and Joe Rogan’s podcast) THE WAR OF ART.
Most mugs are made in factories overseas, which is why you can get cheap mugs anywhere. You can get books anywhere too, and I highly recommend all of Steve’s books! You can get them on stevenpressfield.com and wherever books are sold.
But if you’re interested in something one of a kind, something handmade in the USA, something uniquely inspiring…
Then mugsandbooks.com might be for you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and to learn about our shared curiosities.