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Embracing Diversity, One Mug at a Time: A Celebration of Pride

Embracing Diversity, One Mug at a Time: A Celebration of Pride

PRIDE Mugs go Live at Noon Today!

Hey, hi, hello, how are you? 

It’s Jeff, Connor McGinn Studios’ resident queer production assistant. (Brief sidebar: “Queer”, I mean, you could google it, but-since you asked-my personal preference for identifying as “queer” is, in part to take ownership of a word that has a history of being an insult, and partly not to box myself into an identity that feels too restrictive. “Queer”, to me, is just “Not Straight”. The “Yes, and…” to “Gay”if you will.

Ok, so I wasn't just bringing up being queer for no reason. I’m here to talk about Pride mugs. For Pride Month. Because it's almost June and June is Pride Month.

So mugs.

A mug was always the obvious choice for an item to release as a fundraiser initiative. Its singular nature makes it really approachable. It’s also something that we have a special, intimate relationship with. It’s something most of us use daily. We have a favorite. It’s how we know who the "Coolest Grandma" “World’s Best Lawyer" or "Greatest Boss" is, or who “Loves [their] Pug”. For an object representative of a cause or message it seemed appropriate for it to be something we use on a daily basis and have this kind of relationship with. 

This year we’re running with the NYC Pride Theme of“Strength in Solidarity”. It took a minute to really figure out how we’re going to interpret that on a mug. I thought maybe we’d do mugs representative of all the different Pride Flags. But after about a minute of googling I discovered there's 50 or so pride flags. Then I was worried that by trying to include everyone I'd open us up to inadvertently excluding someone.

The solution was a happy accident. A few months back a mug that was freshly glazed and about to be loaded into the kiln to be fired got its glaze coat chipped. It happens all the time and we just dab a little glob of glaze on the bald spot and off it goes. Some of the glazes are easier to tell than others, but about half of them are a barely perceivable hue of grey. Connor dipped the mug's handle to touch it up and it went into the kiln.

The mug that came out of the kiln was white, "Meringue" with a light blue, "Robin" handle. It was awesome,so we did it again, but on purpose.

With that technique as the jumping-off point I thought, well, what if we do a rainbow OF mugs instead of a rainbow ON mugs. I’ve never felt the OG rainbow pride flag to be exclusionary, I’ve always seen it as a pretty concise symbol of an all-inclusive community, representing thespectrum of sexuality and gender. 

With our new "Flamingo", and our quietly patient, yet-unnamed purple glazes rounding out the spectrum in our glaze palette, we get a pretty decent rainbow.

In the visible spectrum of light(science!) all colors seen together is white, only when refracted do we see the individual colors. In an attempt to spread the light, figuratively, each mug, with its individual color, represents the individual. The base of the mug is white, representing the rest of the spectrum together, in solidarity, supporting the individual.

There’s so much more to be said on all of this, of course. The more I write the more layers become visible. Peeling the onion, tears included, more is revealed to me how grateful I am for this opportunity.

My relationship with the experience of being the oft-times sole “resident queer” has gone through many permutations but I can honestly say I’m proud to be a part of our team and the work we do at Connor McGinn Studios. I'm proud to be supported by all the Makers under the umbrella of Makers Central, who I without question count as my allies.

All profits will be donated to The Loft LGBTQ Community Center