Fancy a cuppa at FortyFive Vinyl Café? Not to drink but to view or buy in Lotte Inch’s exhibition by a cracking set of makers

“I’ve been a huge fan of Ali Tomlin’s work for some time now,” says Cups and Such curator Lotte Inch

DESIGNED to be a hug for you, or for someone else, the Cups and Such pop-up exhibition of beautiful, handmade drinking vessels promises to offer comfort and solace for all, says curator Lotte Inch.

Working in tandem with exhibition hosts FortyFive Vinyl Café, the welcoming haven of music, coffee and comfort food in Micklegate, York, Lotte Inch Gallery has selected cups, mugs, beakers, tea bowls and more, made by hand by Rebecca Callis, Reiko Kaneko, Ali Tomlin and the Leach Studios.

“After two years of not really being able to be close to our nearest and dearest, I imagine that I’m not alone in saying that the search for warmth and comfort in other objects and experiences has become an essential part of our every day,” says Lotte.

“Providing a sense of connection and an opportunity to embrace, we hope that through Cups and Such, you will all find something that offers that hug-in-a-mug feeling from the selection of deftly curated pieces.”

“The search for warmth and comfort in other objects and experiences has become an essential part of our every day,” says Lotte

Here CharlesHutchPress asks Lotte Inch for her thoughts on mugs, cups, tea, coffee and cafés.

How and why did you select Rebecca Callis, Reiko Kaneko, Ali Tomlin and the Leach Studios to take part in this exhibition, Lotte? 

“Rebecca, Reiko and the Leach Studios have exhibited with Lotte Inch Gallery since the early days, and I’ve always loved their work, each one being so different from the other.

“It’s been a joy to see how Rebecca and Reiko’s work has developed over the years and I’m honoured to have been witness to this while collaborating with them.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Ali Tomlin’s work for some time now too, and when planning this show, I decided to ask if she’d like to be a part of it. Thankfully for me, and York’s ceramics fans, she said ‘yes’!”

A handmade tea-drinking vessel by Ali Tomlin at FortyFive Vinyl Café

What are the “and more” items in the exhibition?

“Some of the makers in the show have some beautiful jugs that complement the drinking vessels on display. And there are a few items from other makers that might have caught my eye and crept into the exhibition too – although once they have sold, they’re gone, so I’d recommend getting down there soon to see for yourself.”

After mounting Jonny Hannah’s Songs For Down Town Lovers exhibition in February 2020 and now Cups and Such, what makes FortyFive Vinyl your favourite York café ?

“It might be something to do with being married to one of the owners! Or perhaps the amazing grilled cheese sandwiches! But on a serious note, it’s just such a welcoming, easy-going and adaptable space. I love the combination of music and art and the large walls offer a brilliant backdrop for exhibiting work.

“It’s been a joy to see how Reiko Kaneko’s work has developed over the years,” says Lotte. Picture: Cat Garcia

“I love that it’s also open in the evenings at weekends for gigs or just for a beer. It’s that flexibility of the place that makes it an ideal venue to collaborate with on projects or to just visit in a more everyday capacity.”

What is your favourite cuppa? Tea or coffee?

“Tea. I can’t start the day without it. And it’s the last thing I drink before I go to bed at night.”

Milk first or teabag and water first?

“This depends on how much of a rush I’m in and if I’m making it just for me or for someone else. Inevitably, the milk goes in first, with the teabag, these days! Toddlers and opportunities for relaxed tea-drinking don’t really go hand in hand.”

Mug for coffee…teacup for tea…Or aren’t you fussy?

“A bone china or fine stoneware mug for either would be my preference. As long as it isn’t a polystyrene cup, I’m happy!”

A mug by Reiko Kaneko in the Cups and Such exhibition

How do you feel when you break a mug or cup?

“Generally, pretty devastated. If it’s salvageable and can be used in another capacity, I will try and find another use for it. Otherwise, I try and take it as an opportunity to replace it with another mug from one of my favourite makers.”

Favourite biscuit to go with a cuppa?

“Dark Chocolate Digestives. Definitely something chocolatey.”

Do you have a favourite mug in your home?

“I have a porcelain mug that I bought before I opened Lotte Inch Gallery, made by Irish maker Adam Frew. I would be heartbroken if this one got smashed. I think it was buying this at Ceramic Art London that sparked my love for collecting – and selling – ceramics. I’ve always wanted to work with Adam, but it’s never quite worked out. One day maybe?”

Cups and Such…or, A Hug In A Mug, a pop-up exhibition by Lotte Inch Gallery, runs at FortyFive Vinyl Café, Micklegate, York, until March 6. Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, 10am to 5pm, Friday, 10am to 8pm; Saturday, 10am to 6pm.