A coffee mug is so much more than just a vessel, some ineffective object necessary for holding liquid and not much each. A mug can shape the entire experience (quite literally). How it feels in your hand, the texture against your lip, the effect it has on flavor and aroma perception. It’s also deeply personal. It’s an expression of the personality of its owner, like a tattoo for your coffee.
We here at Sprudge make no secret for our love of mugs. From the thick porcelain of a high quality diner mug to the hand thrown artistry of a pre-nub Medansky, we love them all. We even have our own mug collab with Created Co. and Taylor MacManus. But when it comes to sheer cuteness in mug form, there is none better than Uno+Ichi. As adorable as they are sought after, these smiley (and sometimes frowny) ceramics are on pre-order right now, and honestly, it’s probably the only chance you have to get one.
Started in 2015, Uno+Ichi is the work of Los Angeles-based ceramicist Hana Ward, who hand throws and sculpts each piece in a studio behind her grandmother’s house in LA’s West Adams neighborhood. With her work, Ward wants to reconnect people with life’s simpler joys. “With the ceramics I create I hope to make people more cognizant of the small, lovely things in their life and just how big a joy we can feel from a small thing,” Ward tells Sprudge. “Uno+Ichi is guided by that feeling when you are delighted by something small and maybe unexpected.”
The playfulness in her design Ward attributes to a lifelong love of Sanrio characters. “It was my favorite store in the mall. I see Uno+Ichi as having a similar spirit, but perhaps it's for the Sanrio-lover who has grown up and has their own space to decorate,” Ward states.
To say that Uno+Ichi’s anthropomorphic little cuties are popular would be a massive understatement. I've been a fan of Ward's work since it came across my timeline about a year or so ago. But actually acquiring one of her ceramics generally takes good timing and a bit of luck. As soon as the webstore is updated with a new collection—each piece taking a few days to complete—they are just as quickly sold out. But in an effort to keep up with demand, Ward has opted to take pre-orders for the next release. For this latest drop, Ward is releasing three different designs: the Tearcup Teacups, the 4-6oz Niñas y Chicos mugs, and the very grumpy Pobrecito mug. (It me. I'm Pobrecito.)
Each piece is handmade and hand-painted and no two are alike. For the Niñas y Chicos, you can choose between six different clay options, but the facial expressions are left entirely up to Ward.
The pre-sale ends 12:00pm PST February 27th, with Ward, who is currently working on pieces for a solo show at the end of March at Ochi Projects in Los Angeles, expecting to fill all orders by August. For those that miss the pre-order, Uno+Ichi will have occasional drops on their webstore. For updates and a heads up on when the store is restocked, sign up for Uno+Ichi’s phone club and follow them on Instagram to track their progress. For more information or to place your pre-order now (or forever hold your peace), check out Uno+Ichi's official website.
All photos via Uno+Ichi