John Bennett

Master of Ceramics student discusses ‘the homeless mug’

“My name is John Bennett and I study a Masters in Ceramics at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Through the lens of the functional vessel my study focusses on connections, inhabitation and social cohesion, hence the origin and intentions of this project; ‘The Homeless Mug’.

Homelessness is a serious issue indicative of our disassociation and detachment in todays society. Homelessness is an illness that strikes, irrespective of age, education, religion or status. It is malignant, life threatening and an escalating problem. This project is a small step in personifying awareness and empathy, a statement of intent to make a difference.

The aim is to create and sell two hundred mugs at £10 each, with profits given in support of the Blue Bus homeless charity in time for Christmas. The Blue Bus feed and support the homeless and it is hoped that our contribution will boost their funds during the particularly difficult period of the Winter months.

Achieving this through the functional vessel, an everyday item so intrinsically familiar to us all, is to avoid the often mechanical act of simply ‘giving to charity’ and instead encourage association on a human level with those we are seeking to help. It is hoped, that this more physical connection to an object that so powerfully personifies ‘home’ will resonate more deeply.

Myself and other students have given our time freely to create these mugs and handles, to bisque and glaze them. It has taken us four full days to complete but we have relished the opportunity to reach outside of the protective stability of the university and benefit the society that surrounds it.

We propose to sell the mugs on campus at the third years BA’s fund raising ‘Ceramic auction’ and at a ‘Ceramic fair’ held at Insole Court. This project has the full support of: Dr Natasha Mayo, the Ceramic programme director, Angela Dutton of CREATE and Professor Olwen Moseley, the Dean of our School of Art and Design.”