Need a Mug, Borrow a Mug
Local potters creating handmade mugs for unusual lending library.
Libraries have been lending out literature to citizens for hundreds of years all over the world, but Jeremy Ogusky, a local artist, is starting a library of a different kind. At Feet of Clay in Brookline Village, he's lending out handmade mugs.
"It's kind of a strange concept, but we have all these pots waiting to be used," said Jennifer Wyman, manager of Feet of Clay. "People love pots and mugs, but they can't buy everything."
The mug lending library is a free program requiring only a paper application, and is meant to help local artists gain exposure and connect the community with handmade work. Ogusky compares it to modern-day rental services like Netflix and Zipcar, only free.
"There are a lot of new cost-sharing models that are getting traction and doing well," Ogusky said. "Not everyone needs to own their own DVD library, but they can subscribe to Netflix."
Ogusky said this 21st century model succeeds for many companies, but his biggest goal calls for a look at the past, before mass manufacturing became impersonal.
"The idea is to experience something made by local artisans that's not machine made," Ogusky said. "The goal is to create a greater appreciation for handmade work in our lives, not just ceramics."
Ogusky chose to work with mugs specifically because they are individual.
"When they borrow mugs, they'll become attached to it because it's an intimate experience of using it, holding it and drinking from it," Ogusky said.
When the library launches, borrowers will be allowed to keep each mug for two weeks and have the option of buying them after the test drive. The program will launch with about 20 pieces, but Ogusky expects the library to shift into a rotating collection and grow as the program gains popularity.
Ogusky said the library may eventually offer more than just mugs and is open to suggestions. He said "curious" visitors at Feet of Clay have been quick to offer ideas, including lending out sets of dishes for dinner parties or tea parties.
The idea for the mug lending library was inspired by the Artstream Gallery in Aspen, CO. Artists bought a 1950s airstream trailer and converted it into a mobile gallery and library that lends out pottery.
Feet Of Clay will showcase many of the mugs to be used in the lending library at their annual holiday open house on Dec. 3. The mug lending library will launch early next year.