Meet the Artists Behind the Cups

December 12, 2016

Across the street from the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, a Pueblo-owned Starbucks stands out for its unique Southwestern-style architecture. Details in the interior design honor its connection to Pueblo culture, including a horno-style fireplace and oversized photographs showing Pueblo landscapes.

five-hand-coiled-pueblo-mugsThis Starbucks is also home to five beautiful handcrafted works of Pueblo pottery. At first glance the mugs appear to be colorful variations of Starbucks’ iconic paper coffee cup and plastic lid, but in fact they’re made entirely of the same clay and slip used by Indigenous artisans in the Southwest for over a thousand years.

Each mug was hand-coiled, smoothed, polished, and fired by a different Pueblo artist in 2015 to celebrate the new cafe and symbolize the collaboration between the Pueblo tribes of New Mexico and Starbucks.

In the year since then, many Starbucks customers have asked whether the mugs or ones like them are for sale. Now they are! This November, Shumakolowa Native Arts collaborated with the artists to transform the five unique designs into travel mugs, available just in time for the holidays. All of the participating artists receive royalties for each mug sold.

Zia Pueblo potter Elizabeth Medina with her handcrafted Starbucks-inspired pottery mug.

In honor of Starbucks’ one-year anniversary on December 21, these five artists will participate in a special meet-and-greet with visitors! Come talk with these incredibly talented individuals over a cup of coffee, admire their handcrafted pottery, and take a look at the new travel mugs to boot—just in time for the holiday shopping season.

Meet the Artists Behind the Cups

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

10am - 11am: Robin Teller (Isleta)
11am - 12pm: Elizabeth Medina (Zia) & Erik Fender (San Ildefonso)
12pm - 1pm: Patricia Lowden (Acoma) & Frederica Antonio (Acoma)

Starbucks at Avanyu Plaza
2400 12th St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104

The five original clay pottery mugs...

...the five travel mugs based on the pottery designs!

The Starbucks anniversary celebration goes beyond the artist meet-and-greet on Wednesday. Stop in all week for a different deal each day! 

  • Monday, Dec. 19: Free Shot Monday
  • Tuesday, Dec. 20: Two Teas Tuesday
  • Wednesday, Dec. 21:
    • 10am – 1pm: Meet the Artists Behind the Cups: Pueblo pottery-inspired travel mugs will be for sale; customers will get a free fill-up of drip coffee with purchase of a mug
    • 4pm: Customer Appreciation Happy Hour: Appetizers will be provided by the Pueblo Harvest Cafe, located across the street from Starbucks at 2401 12th St NW
  • Thursday, Dec. 22: 10% off all Christmas items in-store
  • Friday, Dec. 23: 10% off all Christmas items in-store

Starbucks at Avanyu Plaza
2400 12th St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87104


  1. Sherril Thibault says

    They are all so very beautiful. I am a big fan of South Western style, and all Native American Art work.

  2. Lisa says

    Can you purchase online?

  3. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center says

    Hi Lisa! Thanks for your interest. Yes, these mugs are all available for purchase online through Shumakolowa Native Arts’ website, http://www.Shumakolowa.com. They’re certainly beautiful and we hope you enjoy them!

  4. Kathy says

    Is there a difference between the ones on the top row and second row or are they all pottery ones?

  5. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center says

    Hi Kathy! Thank you for asking. The mugs in the top row of photos are the original pieces of handcrafted pottery, while the mugs in the row below them are the travel mugs produced by Shumakolowa Native Arts based on the artists’ designs.

  6. Kathy says

    Thank you for responding. Are the travel mugs also pottery?

  7. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center says

    We’re happy to help, Kathy. The travel mugs aren’t made of pottery, since hand-sculpting and firing clay is a weeks-long process for each piece and the resulting vessels would be delicate. Instead, they’re high-quality double-walled poly-resin with threaded spill-resistant lids. Each mug has a smooth, elegant texture and is the appropriate size and strength to accompany you on daily commutes!

  8. Catherine Hughes says

    If I order online now to pick up at IPCC, will they wait to charge the card untill it is available for pick up?

  9. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center says

    Hi Catherine, thanks for your interest in the mugs and your support of Pueblo artists! At this time all of the inventory for the year has sold out; we expect the next shipment to arrive mid to late January. If you’d like to pre-order mugs online, Shumakolowa Native Arts will charge your credit card at the time that you place your order, guaranteeing you the mugs of your choice as soon as they become available and ensuring that you’re immediately notified of your order’s availability before the mugs are sold to others in-store.

  10. apasionado says

    Are the clay pottery mugs available for purchase?

  11. Indian Pueblo Cultural Center says

    Thank you for your interest! These five clay pottery mugs were commissioned specifically for everyone to enjoy on display at the Pueblo-owned Starbucks at Avanyu Plaza and are not for sale. However, our friends at Shumakolowa Native Arts offer a beautiful selection of hand-crafted Pueblo pottery in a range of sizes and styles, from seed pots to wedding vases, representing the various artistic traditions of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. We hope you’ll find a work of art to make your own in their boutique or at Shumakolowa.com.

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