Mugg Vase 17/20
What can you tell us about your ancestors?
For some of us lucky enough, a few stories about our ancestors come to mind rather quickly. Yet, for many of us, from immigrant families to Black Americans, this question can be eclipsed by other thoughts and emotions: curiosity, pride, uncertainty, lost lineage, pain, and longing.
Meet the Mugg Vase by KETCHUPSTAIN, the multidisciplinary studio by artist Kristen Stain behind The Mugg Collection - one-of-a-kind ceramic vases inspired by ancestry, beauty, and identity.
When we first learned about Kristen and KETCHUPSTAIN, we were drawn by how her vessels spark meditations of who these faces might be and what stories they might tell. The faces also sit tall and upright, making their presence known with unabashed pride.
With a background as an illustrator, Kristen explains that portraiture led her to explore faces and figures in clay. Additionally, over the last three years, she has entered a new personal chapter reflecting on the spiritual world and learning about and loving herself in a world brimming with anti-Blackness by studying the craft and cultural traditions within the African diaspora.
The Mugg Collection, exclusive to Little Goodies, is a part of The Mugg Series, an ongoing body of work by Kristen and KETCHUPSTAIN created under these conditions.
Growing up as part of a multi-racial immigrant family, LG Co-Founder Danny also found Kristen's work sparked a unique curiosity and comfort in reflecting on his own family and identity. These feelings ultimately led him to approach Kristen to create a collection representing an ode and exploration of lineage and community through her experience. The collection would represent a family, with each face vessel showcasing unique features seen through bloodlines, from distinct colors and sizes to noses, lips, and teeth.
Kristen describes a general theme of her work as "a pursuit of self-love and acceptance," noting hair and adornment as additional sources of inspiration. She also notes that she enjoys that the functionality element of her vases makes them participatory, inviting each owner to adorn them with "hair" through floral arrangements.
This vase is 1 of 20. Each vase features a distinct illustration and signature at the bottom inspired by contemporary Black Womanhood and the graphic nature of African masks. To Kristen, it's an image of a Black woman with Bantu knots and hoop earrings, noting, "I like to think it's me!"