Do you remember the large sea of pink hats January 21st, 2017? How about all the videos and images documenting the pilgrimage to Washington D.C. and all the cities world wide? Were you involved in joining millions of others drawing attention to women’s rights, equality, LGBTQ rights, and healthcare reform? Who could ever forget The Women's March.
I didn’t quite know what all I was walking into that day as I joined a couple friends trekking into Asheville, North Carolina, but I do remember that I was deeply inspired to make a change from that day forward. Those who know me all too well know these two things; I’m a fan of Dolly Parton, and I love the color pink (we’ll call the colors blush and bashful). That being said the PussyHat Project was all eye candy and being surrounded by people I admire and love, I knew what I needed to do. The march was finished that afternoon, but the fight for change had to continue. The question however was, “How do I do this with pottery? How does this become a part of my studio practice?”
Fortunately, that winter I was at Penland School of Crafts as a winter resident. I teamed up with potter, fellow winter resident, and friend Kurt Anderson, and together we created 50 pink mugs that had pink pussycats all over them. Where would half the proceeds go? Deciding it was important to start locally, and close to Penland, we donated half the proceeds to Mitchell County SafePlace. Although not every woman may have stood in agreement with the marches that day, we believed that all women should benefit no matter their political stance. All mugs sold in 20 minutes! Although a huge success, I was still left feeling that it wasn’t enough. I had to do more and that’s how Mr. Benny’s Pot Shop Craft for a Cause was created.
The Craft for a Cause section will occasionally feature a line of wares, art works or host events that will benefit non-profit organizations that help provide healthier atmospheres for women, children, animals, and many more. Mr. Benny’s mission with Craft for a Cause is to educate and raise awareness regarding local and national events in addition to supporting handmade objects and the artists who make them.
In conjunction with launch of our new online shop, and to bring focus to the significance of families this Christmas and holiday season, we created 100 “Whiskey, Wine and Whiskers” cups inspired by the mugs created last winter with Kurt Anderson. $12 from every sale (roughly 25%) beginning Small Business Saturday will go to benefiting The Center for Women and Families here in Louisville, Kentucky. Proceeds will assist in supporting individuals, families and communities affected by domestic violence -- because hands should only grab mugs and cups, NOT women and children.
We at Mr. Benny's Pot Shop hope that these wine and whiskey cups, like the PussyHats created by Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, will be used, shared, gifted, and put on display to show our continued support for Women’s Rights!
Wishing you all a safe and healthy holiday season, Bottoms up!
Jason Bige Burnett
Here's a video showing some of the work that went into making the "Whiskey Wine and Whiskers" cups.