Oil Pipeline Cup
Oil Pipeline Cup
Organizers: Northern Clay Center and Ursula Hargens
Ambassador of Conversation: Nathan Bray
Image: Kim Bogeman
Cup Design: Liz Pechacek
Porcelain 2.5" x 4" x 5" and 10 fl oz
For the longevity of your decal, please avoid the dishwasher.
Pictured is the front and back of one cup.
The debate over the Line 3 Oil Pipeline has divided Minnesota. One side speaks of potential economic benefits to rural communities while the other cautions against environmental risks to northern lakes and ecosystems. The pipeline is also controversial because it crosses several Native American reservations, impacting the harvesting of wild rice and violating treaty rights.
Conversations like this are important in my region in Northern Minnesota because there isn’t a lot of discussion among people from opposing sides. In gathering a group of participants for our community session, many people declined because they felt they could not have a civil conversation with individuals from an opposing political party. This made me even more aware of the divisions between my neighbors and within my community.
Growing up in the Northwoods, nature and conservation are extremely important to me and I strive to work harder on my own efforts each year. While working on this illustration for the Democratic Cup, it was equal parts research and robust discussion around the deep impact the pipeline has on both people with Native American heritage and the environmental devastation it will cause. My hope is that people will dig deeper into businesses and industries they support, and become more active in preserving the Earth.
My strongest hope for the cup I designed in collaboration with The Democratic Cup and Kim Bogeman was to create a meaningful object. From an artistic perspective, I enjoyed being able to spend extra time on the prototype, thinking about what would work well for the illustration, and the production. I also wanted to retain a sense of touch alongside a clean, comfortable design so that people would enjoy using the mug while the conversations were carried out and then carried home. I love how the project turned out and loved the process!
Traveling around Minnesota to host conversations for The Democratic Cup: Land of 10,000 Stories was encouraging. Participants were remarkably open and honest as they entered into challenging discussions with strangers. While people often disagreed, they were respectful, thoughtful, and knowledgeable about their local communities. They spoke in detail about the issues and how they were affected as individuals and community members. Listening, as people spoke from the heart, gave me hope.