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The Clay Studio

The Guerilla Mug Assault

November 8, 2012 through November 8, 2013

On November 8, 2012, The Clay Studio hit the streets of Philadelphia.  Stationed at six different locales with both foot traffic and an abundance of coffee shops, teams gave away 500 beautifully crafted handmade ceramic mugs to 500 individuals with disposable cups.  A tag attached to each mug included information about the project, the mugs maker, and The Clay Studios blog address with a statement encouraging the recipient to post about their experiences using their chosen mug and the relationship they develop with it.

This Guerilla Mug Assault, partially funded by the  John S. and James L. Knight Foundations Knight Arts Challenge Grant, is part of a larger project titled Made by Hand.  The project began in August 2012 with two exhibitions: Derek Au Recent Work and Pots at Rest. The exhibitions explored both obvious and subliminal associations one may draw with tableware including nourishment, the sharing of food, social hierarchies of dining, and these objects abilities to serve as reminders of people, time and place.

The Clay Studios Artistic Director Jeff Guido states, Countless exhibitions have been realized on tableware, but none that ask both maker and user to define its relevance or function in their lives, and more broadly, its role in present day culture - Why do people buy it and why do people make it? With the Made by Hand project, multiple voices and points of view will be given equal opportunity to express what it means to them. And the project moves beyond the converted, taking the art to the streets with the Guerilla Mug Assault, which removes a barrier for many when it comes to the handmade price.


The John S. and James L. Knight Foundations Knight Arts Challenge is a three year, $9 million initiative funding innovative projects that engage and enrich Philadelphias communities. In 2011, Out of 1,752 applicants and 36 winners, The Clay Studio is honored to receive a $15,000 matching grant in support of the Guerilla Mug Assault.

Gallery Assistant Wynn Bauer passes out free mugs.

All smiles for her new handmade mug by Baltimore artist Matt Hyleck.

A Chris Campbell mug already in use!

Trading his paper cup for a handmade one by Philadelphia artist Munemitsu Taguchi

Philadelphia Police Say Yes to Handmade

All walks of life enjoy Albion Stafford's mugs.

Taking a break to snag a Brad Johnson mug.

Thanks to Clay Studio Associate Artist Elaine Kelly for volunteering!

Out with the paper cup and in with a handmade Matt Kelleher mug!

So happy to receive a mug by local artist Rebecca Chappell!

Owners of Cafe Ole in Old City show off their mugs made by artists Theo Uliano of Pennsylvania (left) and Posey Bacopoulos of New York (right).

Excited about her handmade mug made by Marty Fielding.

Get Ready to Get Mugged

Clay Studio Resident Artist Julie Moon provides a helping hand.

Proud owner of an Andy Shaw mug.

Recipient of an Eric Pardue handmade mug.

Drinking from his Joseph Pintz handmade mug while driving.

Clay Studio Work Exchange, Grace Tessein, offers up a free handmade mug.

Clay Studio Volunteers Lynne Berman and Tina Cheung giving away a mug to an enthusiastic Philadelphian

A fan of both the Eagles and artist David Crane's mug.

Smiling recipient of an Elizabeth Robinson-Wiley mug.

Lots of interest in hearing about The Guerilla Mug Assault!

Mug by Philadelphian artist Ryan Greenheck.

New owner of a Maria Dondero mug.

A Philadelphian chef showing off her new Stepanka Horalkova mug.

All smiles with his mug made by local Philadelphia artist, Michelle Miller.

Clay Studio Resident Artist, Matt Ziemke, helps refill the tray of free handmade mugs.

Clay Studio volunteer Yinka Orafidiya talks with Philadelphians about the project.

New owner of a mug made by artist Linda Christianson.

His new mug by Ryan Greenheck should help keep him warm while giving tours of Philadelphia

Jake Montz, Clay Studio Intern, gathers recipient's information.

Enjoying a mug by artist Jeff Kleckner.

Showing off her new mug by artist Victoria Christen.

Pouring coffee into her new Lorna Meaden mug.

Showing off his new Marty Fielding handmade mug.

All smiles for her new mug made by New York artist Brenda Quinn.