Design

Adopt a Unicorn–Elwood the Rainbow Unicorn Mug!

August 4, 2014

Meet Elwood. Magical unicorn. Party animal. Coffee buddy for life.

Elwood the Rainbow Unicorn Mug | UncommonGoods

Elwood’s fairy tale begins in an Effort, Pennsylvania ceramics studio. It may not be an enchanted forest, but it is a charming place, bursting with creativity and inspiration. It’s where JoAnn Stratakos develops original designs, like everyone’s favorite Rainbow Unicorn, by letting the clay guide her imagination.

Cuts of Clay ready to mold
Elwood waiting for his rainbows | Mudworks Pottery | UncommonGoods

“My inspiration for Elwood probably stems from my very early days of reading Sci-Fi-Fantasy fiction,” says JoAnn. “Anne McCaffrey wrote an entire series of books with dragons, elves, fairies and, of course, UNICORNS! I began collecting anything unicorn, and soon all my family and friends began gifting me unicorn things.”

When someone asked JoAnn to make a horse mug for their farm, it didn’t take long for her imagination to conjure up something a little more magical.

Molding into Elwood shaped mug

Of course, Stratakos relies on more than whimsy and wonder to bring creations like Elwood to life. To make magic happen, Stratakos has to put her hands to work and apply the skills she’s honed over time.

“I was never a ‘young’ designer,” she told us when we visited her for a Studio Tour. “I started learning to make pottery when I was 40-plus years old. The best lesson I learned [as a budding designer] was the harder you worked, the luckier you got!”

First, Elwood’s sweetly stout “belly” is thrown on a potter’s wheel. The subtle variations created in this process give each piece its own unique personality. Additional appendages, including the feet, tail and that signature horn, are then lovingly sculpted and attached to the mug by hand.

Elwoods feet are attached to mug

Before Elwood can earn his rainbow stripes, he needs to be kiln-fired—doing so before glazing helps the clay dry completely and boosts its durability. Then, each mug is hand-dipped in a creamy base color, and all of the details that make him extra-special, like his colorful mane and tail, are painted on by hand. Finally, the vibrant colors are set by sending Elwood to the kiln one more time

Elwood in kiln

When completed, Elwood emerges—all fired up, and ready to add a little magic to your next cup of coffee or tea.

Heard of Elwoods

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4 Comments

  • Reply Gillian Thompson November 29, 2016 at 2:32 am

    I am trying to buy large Elwood coffee mum but can’t find how to purchase

    • Reply Emily G. November 29, 2016 at 10:22 am

      Hi Gillian,
      You can shop the Elwood mug here, or the Elwood cereal bowl, which is slightly larger in diameter, here.
      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Brandon November 29, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I want to buy this for my boyfriend for christmas, he would LOVE this. But $40 for a mug? Are you nuts? I would have bought it without a second thought if it were $15. No matter I can just as easily and so much cheaper go make one myself and itll be that much more meaningful.

    • Reply Emily G. November 30, 2016 at 10:41 am

      Hi Brandon,

      We’re glad you think your boyfriend would be a fan of Elwood, but we’re sorry to hear you’re disappointed about the price. As you’ll see in the blog post, each Elwood is carefully handcrafted and painted, resulting in an artistic, substantial, creative way to hold a cup of joe. If you look on the product page you’ll find many satisfied customers in the review section!

      If you’re looking for Christmas gifts on a budget though, definitely check out our Best Gifts for $25 and Under guide for some more fun ideas.

      Thanks for reading the blog, and happy holiday shopping! 🙂

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