With a journey shaping up in our plans, the first one in these “conscious times”, but hoping for many to follow, we thought it would make a great addition to our handcrafted backpack to have a drinking cup that is both light weight and durable, yet made of genuine material. Something we could even pass down, what is worthy of the same appreciation now and hundred years from now.
Our material choice has fallen on stainless steel and the craftsman we thought of was the same young man who had previously proven himself for us as the creator of an outdoor shower stand designed by us or in the project of our daughter’s cradle, bending and welding its stainless steel support to best match the shape of our dreams with the inherent limitations of stainless steel.
We met up in town to show him the sketch of and talk about our newest desire, the prototype of a four piece set of stackable cups, equally good for cold and hot drinks, but also resistant to acids and alcohol.
Oh, and make it oval, please, something like this…
Small project as it was, we understood it couldn’t enjoy the greatest priority on the handyman’s schedule, on the other hand he was respectful of our time limits organized around the frantic preparation of several handmade travel items and the departure time itself. So in a few weeks we met again to see the cup in progress, slightly twisted in its body, slanted, with cutting rim on top, still missing bottom, but to have an idea of what it may look like. Turns out that the gently folding up and out kind of edge we originally fantasized about based on an antique pudding cup set from the sixties-seventies in the household, due to lack of the right press tool (a very costly one to custom order) he was not able to carry out, but he did come up with another solution, equally pleasing:
For the same reason he wouldn’t be able to curve the inside of the bottom, which therefore needs to remain straight edged, even if this makes cleaning just a little harder. All right – for the greater good…
And finally two days prior to our departure I traded 10.000 forints (the equivalent of 40 US dollars or 35 euros) for a cup – this beauty here:
It got straightened, the beveled rim and the outside of the bottom edge rounded, all polished up (take away a few tiny but visible welding spots on the inside of the bottom edge, that Zoli Dékány, our craftsman just couldn’t get to with his polishing equipment) – ready to go.
And off it went from our homestead to someone else’s all the way to nearby Lake Como, Italy. I caught it at Keleti Pályaudvar, Budapest after boarding the Railjet with destination Wien Meidling. Here it is, at work, helping Cheryl to a cold refreshment:
In the end, we are very happy with the cup. First of all it stemmed from a real and practical need. Its aesthetics are based on the oval (or elliptic, if you want to go more technical, but I won’t) form, a general shape so commonly found in nature (just think of all those seeds), yet imperfect, however very ergonomic as it is comfortable to grab and hold with one or two, toddler or full grown hands. Its size was taken after a larger tea cup we had, to quench thirst effectively, without having to constantly refill. Even if the shape and size of its mouth that “cups” your nose, too, doesn’t make it suitable for strong liquors like brandy, whiskey, rum or bitters, the design still enjoys a fairly universal use from water, milk and juice through hot coffee, tea or cocoa to wine and beer.
A design conceived by us, the family and commissioned to a young, skilled local craftsman, supporting his family with three small children. The result: a sustainable drinking cup, a beautiful and durable, heirloom quality object of the household that prevents herpes and saves thousands of plastic or waxed paper cups going into a landfill.
Happy responsible drinking to you, too!
What do you drink out of while traveling? Share with us the story of your sustainable way.
My sustainable life design services are two-prong: through online consultancy, along with Cheryl, I give you and your family guidance for the volunteer one-way path of living life sustainably, while your small business can benefit from my in-person sustainability audit and the according future work-life plan layout, accomplished in the quality of fly-in consultant.
As tour guide in and around Breb, our home village in Maramureș County, northwestern Romania, I can bring sustainable living straight to your senses.
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