For every collection that I make, I like to draw inspiration from my personal life and experiences, I fell like doing so will bring even more meaning to everything I make.

And for this handmade mug collection, I decided to get inspired by a trip I took to Tucson, AZ last year. We wanted to do a summer vacation to a place we had never visited before, and the Sahuaro National Park looked like a great idea.

The big cacti that live there have always fascinated me, and I was eager to see them in person. We live in the desert, but our cacti are very different and it was an opportunity I did not want to miss. And when we got there, I was not disappointed with the beautiful scenery we found. It's raw nature, impressive and majestic as I love to see it. The heat was very high, but that did not stop us from enjoying the beautiful view of endless rows of sahuaro and other desert plans, framed by a beautiful cloudy sky.

But there was something I found that I could not wrap my head around. They are tall, majestic and a testament to resilience, I love them! But... why are they full of holes? Isn't that kinda bad for them? What makes these holes? Is something living inside, or they are just made for food? Are they sick? A had a million questions.

And then, after observing the trees carefully, and listening very close to the desert sounds (You would not believe how full of life that place is! Amazing!) and some internet research, I found the culprit. It turns out that there is a bird called the gila woodpecker, that loves to dig holes in saguaros to make their nest and care for their young, and in turn, they care for the plant by eating insects and removing dead tissue. And, they are BEAUTIFUL!

Forward time one year, and here I am, looking trough my photos for ideas and inspiration for my next handmade ceramics project, and I came across our summer holiday. It was perfect! It's summer again, I am obsessed with birds now, I love cacti and I really wanted to make something summer related now that summer is in full season here in west Texas.

So, I set to work on my studio and I started hand sculpting beautiful beverage mugs sharped like a saguaro cacti shaped barrel with a tiny gila woodpecker peeking from it.

As they are drying and getting ready to be on the kiln for their first firing, I remembered the great time we had last year, and that made me happy while I worked, and that always makes my work even more beautiful. Putting happy memories on them as I make them will infuse them with love and happiness that you will feel when you drink an ice cold lemonade form them to cool down from the summer heat.

The will be glazed after the first firing and then they will go into their fiery journey once again, to come back as beautiful practical works of art.

I am already enjoying my first prototype and I am eager to see the complete collection once I am done firing the bisque stage, then glazing and decorating the full collection next week.

Let me know what you think of this new upcoming collection on the comments section! I'd love to hear your opinions on the first prototype. Can't wait to see them all once they are done!

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