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5 Handcrafted Botanical Mugs to Add to Your Collection

Drink Up With Desert Flora

By Leah Soto


Sandy Siegel creates nature-inspired mugs that are inherently whimsical and fun—and inspire you to slow down and savor the sip. Elements of authenticity are seen in her impressions of leaves and flowers, such as this vibrant red fairy duster, that the artist hand-picks for each creation. “I’m addicted to leaves,” Siegel explains. “I love the earthy, fresh smell they release when I press them into the clay.” $38 (


“I have a real love for desert plants,” says Jim Sudal, who is renowned for his botanical-themed ceramics. For his most recent design, he sketches the shape of a saguaro on the clay with liquid wax; the green ceramic glaze surrounds the image, leaving it the natural color of the stoneware. Sudal says he draws most of his inspiration from the cactus garden in front of his gallery. “I like the heat, warmth, light, open spaces and clear skies of the desert,” he describes. “And I especially love the unique plant forms we find here.” $35 (


With a nod toward European sensibility, Tom Budzak chose the humble dandelion as the focal point of his latest creation. “Dandelions don’t seem to be a common decal with potters here, so it stands out as something unique,” he explains. “European artists use a lot of floral designs, so I was trying to incorporate that aesthetic into functional pieces.” His minimalist palette with understated hues of blue, purple and green reflect a softer side of Valley flora. $40 (;


Samirah Steinmeyer highlights an iconic native plant: the Joshua tree. “Nature is my primary source of inspiration. I’ll see a detail in a rock or in a beautiful sprawling landscape and want to bring it home with me,” she says of her originality. Her base colors—blue for the clear skies and sandy brown for the dirt—reflect the true nature of the Southwestern scenery, while her use of a textured clay gives the pieces a gritty feeling reflective of the dusty earth. $69 (


Inspired by the golden hues of the desert, Jillian Schimmel found a way to bring elegance to her dishware by using genuine 14-karat gold to paint a simple saguaro on her handmade off-white mugs. “I like to pick colors that are found in nature,” she says. Adorning her pieces with clean, minimalistic designs makes them versatile for a variety of aesthetics. $30 (;


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