Mug Life Project

Jaymie Shearer is a constant creative with a heart for people and the outdoors.  A lifestyle photographer, Jaymie set off in early October to follow a long-time dream: traveling the Western United States and profiling people with their favorite mugs. By doing so, she is delving into the notions of personality and personal ties.   What we hold onto year after year become the stories that define us (and fill our kitchen cabinets).

All photos above and below (C) 2014 Jaymie Shearer

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I caught up with Jaymie one week into her three month road trip [October 11, 2014].

What inspired you to create the Mug Life Project?  What do you think a mug holds?

Mug Life started as something silly; a bond between roommates who happened to have the same strange mug collecting hobby. As we unpacked our things into the apartment the giant cabinet in our living room quickly filled up with mugs.

Photo by Jaymie Shearer
Photo by Jaymie Shearer

I had never really thought about mugs much before then—I think I just started collecting them more and more because I knew my roommate would like it, or because it reminded me of something special or it fit my personal preference for type of mug (small, textured, nature tones and unique; sort of like me).

I then started to ask others about their favorite mugs and quickly discovered I wasn’t the only one with a go-to mug. All of this got my wheels turning and turning. The mug is a cute little thing that almost everyone can relate to in some way shape or form. And its easy to talk about with friend or stranger. For this project, the mug is a way to connect people and explore different topics over a shared cup of coffee.

And thus Mug Life project was born! I combined this interest in mugs and connecting with people with my love for photography and travel. It took about a year to get this idea to where it is today and one week on the road has left me in awe of how I got here.

Do you have a favorite mug yourself?

Photo by Jaymie Shearer
Photo by Jaymie Shearer

I have so many favorite mugs that its hard to pick just one—I even packed a small box of my favorite mugs to come with me on the road. Crazy? Maybe. But a lot of my favorite mugs are state mugs and I have this grand dream of sipping coffee in Montana with my Montana mug or along the south rim of the Grand Canyon with my Grand Canyon, AZ mug. But if I had to pick just one I would have to choose my “mom mug”. It’s a beautiful mug with all sorts of colors and flowers carved into it. My mom gave it to me a few years back and whenever I drink out of it I am reminded of my family.

What’s your route?  What’s your vehicle?

The route I’m taking is this weird figure eight that is my attempt to avoid certain areas once the weather turns. But this whole journey is an adventure and who knows what the future holds. My route—from the Bay Area I drove across Nevada and a part of Utah to get to my first destination, Jackson Hole, WY. From there I’ll go north through Montana and over to Washington. Then down to Oregon, over to Idaho, back to Utah and into Arizona. All of this taking place over a span of three months. My vehicle is a 2004 Honda Pilot affectionately named “Moe-Mo” aka Moe Mobile aka Mom Mobile aka it was my mom’s car.

Photo by Jaymie Shearer
Photo by Jaymie Shearer

What will the online shop contain?

Once all of the Kickstarter rewards are fulfilled, I will open an online shop full of mugs collected from the road and photo prints available for purchase. It’s a way for people to show their support for the project if they weren’t able to be a part of the kickstarter campaign. Each mug comes with a story about where it was found and a huge thank you note from me.

I would also love to have a section of the shop that has different creative collaborations between Mug Life and other artists. I’ve talked with a few friends about this and we might start with creating a postcard pack or card series featuring illustrations of mug’s I have photographed for this project. That is still an idea but I hope by December that part will be up and running.

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There are many ways to follow along with Jaymie’s journey: