Sippable art

Native-designed Starbucks cups roll out in time for Christmas


Renowned Pueblo potter Frederica Antonio (Acoma), presents her exquisite, hand-painted geometric designed Starbucks coffee mug, one of five Native designs being rolled out in time for holiday shopping.

In anticipating last year’s opening of the Starbucks on 12th Street, key staff of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center sat down and talked about incorporating a Native American theme into its décor and everyday operations.

The Starbucks, owned by New Mexico’s 19 Pueblos, is the largest Starbucks in the state and the only one tribally owned anywhere.

Throwing some ideas around with Ira Wilson, chief marketing executive Dwayne Virgint asked, “What if, we could get traditional potters to design a Starbuck’s latte cup with traditional Pueblo designs?”

That started the ball rolling for renowned Pueblo artists Robin Teller (Isleta), Elizabeth Medina (Zia), Erik Fender (San Ildefonso), Patricia Lowden (Acoma) and Frederica Antonio (Acoma) to create artwork that would become the models for one-of-a-kind Native-designed travel mugs.

But it wasn’t an easy process to make sure the cups were the best they could be.

“It’s been a long road for us,” said Wilson, Diné, who oversees art buys for the IPCC’s Shumakolowa Native Arts gift shop.

Quandaries arose on how to replicate the elongated shape of the Starbuck’s mug using traditional clay, make sure the lids fit tight for coffee drinkers on the run, and wrap Native designs around the cup.

“The integrity of the design was critical. It was not to be compromised. The craftsmanship had to be intact,” stressed Wilson.

After the yearlong process of developing the models, Wilson eagerly looked forward to seeing them.

They all arrived just in time for the holiday season.

When he opened up each box, the contents took his breath away, with one as beautiful as the next.

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Categories: Business