When is a Colorado potato beetle near a potato a good thing? When it’s part of a gorgeous, handmade ceramic potato mug. Manitoba artist Jillian Sareault uses sculptural techniques to create potato-like ceramic vessels that can be used in everyday life.
Each piece has its own unique qualities and no two are identical. Sareault came up with the idea when her mother, MaryAnn Sareault, who is the conference coordinator for Manitoba Potato Production Days (MPPD), was looking for unique gifts for guest speakers attending the annual conference in Brandon, Man.
The first spud mugs debuted at MPPD in January 2019 when they were presented as gifts to guest speakers. They were a huge hit, and Sareault was invited to bring her potato ceramics to the 103rd Potato Association of America Annual Meeting at the Delta Hotel in Winnipeg, Man., this summer. The artist will be setting up shop at the conference to sell her crop of tuber creations.
Sareault was also commissioned to create mugs for some delegates attending the PAA annual meeting. She has also made a chip bowl, which, of course, is shaped like a potato, as a donation for the PAA silent auction. Presently, other potato industry stakeholders are inquiring about additional commissions.
The artist, who recently graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, B.C., also creates bright illustrative pieces inspired by other fruits and vegetables. Currently, Sareault creates her art in the heart of potato country — Portage la Prairie, Man.— which is the perfect setting for her russet ceramics. You can find her work at http://jilliansareaultceramics.ca.