My Wooden Mug

I own a small wooden mug, gifted to me some ten years ago. The mug is a carved birch burl able to contain little more than 150 ml of liquid. It’s shape is plump and soft, fitting nicely in the contour of the hand. The mug requires a balanced and attentive stride when filled with morning coffee. It slows pace, brings awareness, offers joy; centering me each day as I walk my old dog.

After years of use the oils of the coffee beans have stained the interior a dark brown, indirectly charred by the roasted beans. It’s outer surface is speckled with traces of liquid streaming down to the base. It’s handle has darkened where my fingers have held it for years. These are the evidence of a life lived and shared. This vessel is a beacon. A simple artifact which holds memory and experience both tangible and poetic. A statement against disposable cups and a starter of conversations.

A little mug can serve as an exemplar of what I believe designed objects and artifacts should offer our world. My practice strives to consider the responsibility and implications of the objects I bring into the world. It considers how to create objects of meaning; through materiality, semantics, aesthetics and poetics. In this way, I create pieces to be lived with, which can become a part of an individual's daily life. To eventually embody their own memories and meanings.

We are in a time of disconnect and expedited pace. This way of practicing is focused on varied means to help people slow down, reflect, ruminate and connect to one another and the world in which we all share. To consider their own part of this shared space we all inhabit. Where we are, have been and might hope to be.

Gregory Beson

Gregory Beson is a designer and sculptor practicing in New York City. He works in collectible furniture, sculpture, lighting, artifacts, interiors and industrial product design. His work is mainly driven by historical research, material truth and concept formulation. Gregory is currently a professor at Parsons School of Design in New York. He began as a woodworker craftsman before becoming a designer. Many varied pathways led him to design: from music to historic restoration to fine furniture making.

“The poetics of material culture is where my interest is focused: a chipped favorite mug, the joinery and materiality of an artifact, a well-worn door knob. I search for depth and richness to bring joy, connection and knowledge to all who interface with my work. I believe the designer has a unique responsibility and power. One which should not be taken lightly. Remember and study the past, understand and reflect on the present, and push and project what the future can be” said Gregory.