I could jump up and down, scream and shout, for I have found what I have desired for the last six years, right here in Melbourne. The Cup & Mug at with its fine Polish pottery has satiated my needs and left me hungry for more.
A little cafe that's like a second home to my family and me called Borsch Vodka and Tears on Chapel Street has been serving me up food and coffee in absolutely gorgeous Polish crockery. I have them to thank for this introduction, but alas, they said they got all their crockery direct from Poland and I ventured no further, cruising along, enjoying the crockery when I frequented the cafe.
Finally it came to a head, now that I've downsized and just moved inner city, wanting to have around me only things I loved. I'm so over the matchy matchy dinner sets and decided to let my colourful gypsy soul shine and went in search of fine Polish crockery. Imagine my surprise when I discovered The Cup & Mug on the internet, just 9kms from me. I waited patiently after my discovery on the weekend as they're closed on Mondays & Tuesdays, and made a beeline for the shop on the Wednesday when they're open from 10am to 5pm from Wednesdays to Sundays.
The shop is situated at the corner of High Street, and Belford Road, and you'll find street parking along Belford Road. As you enter Belford from High, if you look to your left, you'll see there are 3 car parking spaces that belongs to the shop. It's handy information to know as Belford is generally chockas with parked cars.
The family owned small business shop itself is quaint and has no frills for it needs none. The amazing range of shapes and designs of the pottery/crockery is more than enough eye candy that the rest of the environment fades into the background. I am being flippant when I call the goods 'eye candy' for they are far more superior and exquisite than the eye can behold. Holding each piece, you can almost feel the visceral thrill of the artisan's creative process.
The Cup & Mug is a family owned business and run in partnership by Heather and her son Tim. The other sibling and son, Ashley, works hard at helping out and would like to be known as the 'sous-chef' of the establishment. The Cup & Mug, though currently offering cafe style food and refreshments, will be phasing it out by next year. However, get in there before year's end and you too can taste some of Ashley's homemade light scones which went down deliciously with a mug of hot chocolate for me, in a beautiful Polish mug of course.
So how did a mother with two sons holding a Health Science Degree (Ashley) and a Science degree majoring in Genetics (Tim) come to be in the business of Polish pottery? Heather was always wanting to be in business for herself and thought about starting a tea shop, selling loose leaf tea along with other goodies. Once she fell in love with some Polish crockery she came across at a friend's place, her future was sealed. I don't blame her for being mesmerised by its beauty and craftsmanship. She had found a good way to invest the family inheritance.
She started slowly, selling her wares at markets and private functions, importing just a few pieces at a time. The rest is history as it obviously took off and culminated in a shop in 2013, where it currently stands. Retailing distinctive stoneware, it's produced in the Boleslawiec region of Poland and all that is stocked in the shop has been made to order by skilled craftsmen who take great pride in their work, and it shows. Tim himself is passionate about the product and loves the feel of the handmade objects in his hands. He tried to explain that he can practically feel the vibe of the artisan and their labour intensive skilled process that resulted in such beauty and practicality.
Heather's philosophy is to invest in finely-crafted hand made pottery; she believes that what we use daily should not only be practical but attractive as well; making sustainable choices by dealing exclusively in high-quality durable products and she values the traditional crafts and workmanship of skilled artisans. Who can disagree with that!
All the Polish pottery is crafted in the Ceramika MILLENA factory in a region long associated with stoneware production and renowned for the quality of its clay. Each piece is handmade and hand-painted by a ceramic artist, using vibrant colours and intricate designs. All the products are oven and microwave safe and dishwasher proof which makes them practical, versatile and durable. The proof is already in the pudding for me, for they don't pussy foot around with it at the cafe I frequent; that's for sure.
The Cup & Mug also stock a small amount of the Nicholas Mosse range of pottery from Kilkenny, Ireland. The Irish pottery uses the same technique as the Polish, however where the Polish pottery is stoneware, hence its durability in the oven etc, most of the Irish pottery is earthenware.
Be sure to check out the website for gorgeous pictures of the goods (you can also buy the pottery online, however there's nothing like touching and feeling it and actually seeing its true vibrant colours in the shop) and 'like' them on Facebook to stay abreast of updates like events, markets, fetes and festivities they might be participating in.
For instance, St Bede's Primary School are having a Christmas market with 46 boutique market stalls. The Cup & Mug will be participating, so here's your chance to touch, feel and see the goods on the 27th of November. However only a small range can be carried, whereas in the shop you'll see a representation of every pattern and shape that's carried by The Cup & Mug.
What better time to traipse across there than just before Christmas. Be it a stocking filler mug or bowl, or a fantastic piece, your family or friend would love you for giving them such an amazing gift. Go ahead and gift yourself too, because you're worth it!