Old Mrs Beattie was beside herself. It had long been her custom to take tea at her neighbours’s homes. She spent her afternoons scuttling up prim paths to primmer houses. What she enjoyed most about these afternoon sojourns was seeing the many different china patterns. For instance, Mrs Williams preferred a blue floral design, and elderly Mrs Battersby favoured geometric shapes. But what Mrs Beattie found at the home of the neighbourhood’s two newcomers — two men, if you can believe it — was like nothing she’d ever seen.
One cup had “breed me” emblazoned on the side; there was a saucer with the image of a man showing off his backside; and willies seemed to be everywhere. She made what she thought was a safe choice: a cup and saucer depicting a man surrounded by, and kissing the tips of, several cattails — nothing wrong with that, right? But between sips, she came to the horrifying realization that those weren’t cattails at all. For the rest of the afternoon, it took all her might just to keep down her biscuits.
With the creation of Pansy Ass Ceramics, Kris Aaron and his boyfriend, Andy Walker, have made this scenario much more likely.
“When we met, we discovered that we share a love for old objects,” Aaron says. He and Walker enjoy antique teacups, ’50s and ’60s kitsch, gaudy floral designs, just-so knick-knacks — the whole grandmotherly kit and caboodle. They also love, as Walker says, “how [it was once the case that] your collection said something about you as a person,” so they decided to “gay up” some objects.
The young, Toronto-based couple, already collectors of such items, redoubled their collecting efforts, raiding vintage sales and various thrift shops for high quality, but sadly discarded, cups, saucers and tchotchkes. In one instance, the sight of Walker scooping up dozens of these items seemed to cause a Mississauga salesperson much confusion — “enjoy your plates,” she muttered derisively.
They decorated the items they found. “We sort of do two different things,” Walker says. The pair hand-paints each item with either a raunchy slogan or a sexual image — inspiration for the particular slogan or image coming from the theme or shape of the object. “For instance, we have this swan that’s the gayest thing I’ve ever seen,” Aaron says, “and we thought it’d be funny if we painted ‘masc’ (like masculine) on it.”
With that, Pansy Ass Ceramics was born, and tea time was rendered terrifying for Mrs Beatties everywhere forevermore. They introduced the world to their brand at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel’s vintage sale in July 2015, and launched their online store on Big Cartel the following day. Within only a few weeks, activist and author Dan Savage had ordered a custom set of dessert plates and generated some buzz with a flattering blog post.
They’re working hard to keep a full stock of interesting items. They have everything from a Princess Diana collectors plate with “glamazon” written across it, to a plate with an image of a guy fingering himself. But, each item being one-of-a-kind, what’s available today is gone tomorrow — and forever. So, the only question that’s left is what teacup or faggoty thingamajig best reflects your personality?
(For more uncensored photos, check out Pansy Ass Ceramic’s Instagram.)