Featuring a sea-inspired mug for my recent pottery post, I mentioned needing a tree adorned piece to complete my collection of natural elements. It felt like kismet when soon after, Callahan, the talented potter of Callahan Ceramics asked for customer requests on upcoming designs. I quickly piped up that a birch tree scene would be magical. Indeed, I think it is.
Fortune favored my request; Callahan supported the idea and birch forest scenes were realized in his amazing summer collections. I picked up this beauty on August 12th, priced at $52. It arrived securely packed about ten days later, shipped for $10 and included a ceramic care card.
Callahan’s signature scenes remind me of dioramas, which I’ve been enchanted by since childhood, still am. Why birch trees? I think because an unexpected fairytale element resides in them, a welcoming quality and lightness, even in their barren striated bark. The bright moon, starpoints and forest path add to it’s storybook charm. The techniques of hand-carving an incised image and building up clay structures like trees provide dimension and an almost relief-like effect. I adore the wayward birch branch reaching out of the scene.With a flat sturdy base and 18 oz. capacity, she is a beast. Easily surpassing the size of my next largest mug, also by Callahan Ceramics.Hearty portions of coffee, cocoa and soup will be enjoyed within this fall. The soft charcoal gray glaze with subtle speckles contrasts the brilliant paint colors and makes the white trees pop.I can nestle all my fingers inside the semi-circle handle and use the gentle divot to rest, but with the mug half full, it becomes uncomfortable. Instead I grip with three fingers while stretching my thumb across the back to support my hold. A male friend tried it out and commented that he can only fit two but he prefers a ring handle for single-digit hold or larger dimensions for a three-finger grip. Of course, it’s impossible to estimate everyone’s hand size, however, comfort is important.
The aesthetics more than make up for any issue. With brilliant hues of blue, turquoise and green, a contemplative moonlit path and life-like birch trees, Callahan’s design exceeded my expectations. Birch trees aren’t uncommon in this region, but there aren’t any birch groves nearby, which makes me delighted to have captured this one-of-a-kind piece and display it. I’m wishing for a planter in one of his well-executed scenes too. If you favor more whimsical designs, Callahan’s holding a space alien-themed restock this Saturday, September 15th and opens for limited custom orders on Monday the 17th. Check his Instagram for times, or sign-up for the newsletter on his website.
Do you have a favorite tree? What scene would you choose on a handmade piece?