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What’s cookin’ for 2021?

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What’s cookin’ for 2021?

Most of the products in the Calamityware store start as Kickstarter projects. Here are some things I’m working on that might become Kickstarter projects in the new year.

As always, my predictions are likely to be wildly inaccurate. The freedom to start new projects, procrastinate, change my priorities, and put work on the shelf are some of the reasons I love my self-inflicted projects.


BADbanda 7: Peeved Paisleys Another cotton bandana with a twisted translation of a traditional design. This time...paisleys that are peeved, annoyed, angry, miffed, and irked. Feels like this could be a Kickstarter project early in 2021.



Travel mugs Big porcelain mug to fit in a cup holder. Include a tight-fitting cap to reduce sloshing spills. I’ve been testing a prototype and find it serves perfectly. This could be a Kickstarter project in early spring.


Creature Comfort Throw Blanket. I’ve always wanted to adapt my design for the back of the Creature Comforts playing cards into a cotton throw. Something to curl up in for a nap on the couch. Imagine wrapping yourself in bugs, bats, and beasts for a nap. Bliss. We’ve found a workshop in Portugal that will weave gorgeous throws for us on a Jacquard loom. I hope this can be a Kickstarter project in late winter 2021. 




Beer Steins decorated with Calamity World coat of arms is the last thing the world needs. But I appear to be caving into pressures to make such a thing. Based on the problems I'm having just to get a prototype made, I suspect that this idea might be doomed, cursed, or hexed.



Jigsaw puzzles. I have several designs in the works. One or two might make it to the finish line. First, there’s a picture gallery of improbable portraits. Then, I’ve got to do something funny with all those dogs I have been drawing. That doesn’t even include the upside-down diner, the playground full of creepy aliens, or the world’s worst circus.



Troll Bowl. I just love the title. I’m thinking I need a really big bowl for popcorn, chips, or a fatal serving of ice cream. Big enough to bathe a dozen gerbils. I’ve completed a preliminary design that includes trolls, goblins, lawyers, and worse. The workshop is producing a prototype and if it turns out okay, this can be a Kickstarter project before the end of 2021. 



Letterpress print(s). I’ve started work on several ideas that might make charming prints. Potential themes include the four seasons, pet tricks, and hazmat fashion tips. The discouraging thing about doing prints is that I must sign them. Thinking about that task encourages procrastination.



Books. I have two ideas for illustrated books that are competing for my attention. Both could be a vital public service to our confused civilization. Plus they both offer me excuses to draw plenty of absurd characters doing preposterous things. Good news. Neither of these ideas will inflict more of Don’s poetry on anyone. Yeah!



Patterns. There are bound to be a few new textile patterns in 2021. There are already some tea towels in the works and it might be fun to do another quilted cotton bag or backpack with an absurd new pattern.


Other potential projects include tea cups, hazmat suits, snowshoes, ornaments, magic wands, astrolabe, gravy boat, and pet disguise kits. Watch for email updates as the year advances. Naturally, you might feel tempted to write and tell me which products you want me to work on. Go ahead. But don’t expect an individual reply and don’t expect me to actually shift my priorities just because you want a cummerbund.

I draw every day. I’m exploring the zone where products are beautiful, utilitarian, and funny. I hope you’ll find something I’m doing worthy of your support. But I plan to keep up the effort, whether anyone is behind me or not.

Don—Pittsburgh, December 28, 2020

Copyright 2020. Don't duplicate without permission.

Comments on this post (107)

  • Jan 18, 2021

    Ahhh, looks like I have to wait another year for a large tumbler or two. Great stuff though.

    — Clark Richardson

  • Jan 15, 2021

    I had seen postings of calamity ware and was delighted to get two mugs and a cookie jar for Christmas. The puzzles look wonderful and museum store worthy. Personally I think a line of decorative tiles would be fantastic. The red designs are lovely too so maybe a set of four in blue, red, green, black……Cheers.

    — Kathy

  • Jan 15, 2021

    Your blog is both informative and hilarious, at the same time. I am looking forward to the future to see what it brings to Calamityware!

    — Patricia Butterworth

  • Jan 15, 2021

    Travel mug! I’m so excited about this prospect and already nervous that I’ll break it somehow.
    I do love the idea of salt and pepper now that people have mentioned it.

    — Erin L

  • Jan 15, 2021

    Pet disguises please! What fun!

    — Stacie

  • Jan 11, 2021

    I want that troll bowl and beer stein.

    I truly hope you do teacups and saucers one day.

    — Shi

  • Jan 11, 2021

    Microbes yeah!
    Troll bowl yeah!

    When are the beast bowls arriving? My beast has been waiting.

    — Jacqueline

  • Jan 11, 2021

    Maybe at some point, maybe, cat and dog stuffed toys, dog collars, dog leashes and/or dog sweaters/sweatshirts? Have to admit that I see lots of must-haves pretty much every day on the site and in the potential upcoming projects. . . . Carry on, team!

    — Carolyn

  • Jan 11, 2021

    I personally detest paisley, which is why I must have peeved paisley everything.

    — Lee Toy

  • Jan 11, 2021

    A travel mug and a back pack?! Score! I also love the peeved paisley idea, particularly as a long scarf or a ’90s-inspired short-sleeved button-up (you know, so I can roll up the sleeves!). Channel the cummerbund request to fuel your fury!

    — Miranda

  • Jan 04, 2021

    Just whatever you do, don’t fire your copywriter. If you, Don, are the copywriter, please keep up the excellent work and I promise to continue reading your words. (I’m a copywriter myself and I doubt that very many people besides the proofreader actually read my words, so that’s a pretty big-deal promise on my part.)

    — Sara Davis

  • Jan 04, 2021

    I’m another person who would love a travel mug and throw blanket. Also, I LOVE your puzzles. The more the better, I’ll buy them! Thanks for sharing your wonderful work with the world!

    — Dorie

  • Jan 04, 2021

    Yoga Leggings! The world needs them!

    — Alison Hull

  • Jan 04, 2021

    Will be watching the email box for the Troll Boll to hit kickstarter.

    When you get bored :) I’d like to see small serving pieces—salt and pepper, oil and vinegar, gravy boat.

    And yeah, textiles like small tablecloths, placemats, napkins—or just sell me the yard goods, and I’ll turn them into cushions myself.

    And for something really wild? Bedsheets, with tentacles and zombie poodles and anything your wonderful imagination dreams up.

    — Elizabeth Rowe

  • Jan 04, 2021

    These all sound wonderful! I collect salt and pepper shakers and would LOVE to see that in the future as well!

    — Kristin

  • Jan 04, 2021

    I gave every member of my family a Things Could Be Worse mug for Christmas. It was their favorite gift!! Plus I bought one for me too and am currently drinking coffee from it. I am excited about the travel mug, Troll bowl, throw and beer stein…hell, just send me one of everything and I vote yes for a tablecloth too!! Happy New Year!

    — Lisa

  • Jan 04, 2021

    Hey, I am a fan of Italian restaurant quality espresso and cappuccino cups. If you are not already familiar, take a look at the Illy collection. I would definitely purchase a set of something similar, but only in restaurant porcelain, and probably not something from East Asia. If HLC (Homer Laughlin Company) could do it here in the US, would go for that as well. The classic espresso cup manufacturers are IPA and Ancap in Italy, HLC here (although not that popular), and ACME in China – very popular, but I don’t think they do contract printing. IPA does a lot of custom cafe work in the non-Illy shape as well. The other company that does custom work, which is less traditional, but very highly respected and intriguing design from shape perspective is Not Neutral. Manufactured in East Asia I am sure, but of the highest quality.

    If you produced a set, I imagine you could partner with Cafelat or another small exhibitor to have your product at the next Specialty Coffee Expo in New Orleans next September.

    — Carl Buxbaum

  • Jan 04, 2021

    Can’t wait to see what I will be buying this year!


    — Cheri L

  • Jan 04, 2021

    I found your wonderful site and products after some of the BADbanda’s had apparently been sold out. Are you considering another run of the ones that are no longer available? In the meantime, I love paisley and look forward to that one with great anticipation. The travel mugs, the troll bowl, and the throw are also of great interest… I’ll be saving up!

    — Kathy

  • Jan 04, 2021

    I’m a paisley lover, so I’d like to see peeved paisleys! Also, the throw, travel mug, improbable portrait jigsaw puzzle, and the microbial print!

    — Amy Tannehill

  • Jan 04, 2021

    i vote for a vase to add to my calamityware collection, as well. i do so appreciate and admire your creativity and talent. all of your projects are quite remarkable. thank you for sharing your artistry. cheers to you and happy new year! xox m.

    — melissa

  • Jan 04, 2021

    I absolutely love the octopus in the kiddie pool. My family would tell you that it reminds them of me. My kiddie pool is my favorite place to be with a book in the summer. (And I’m not a young person. ) 😆

    — Sue

  • Jan 04, 2021

    “Beautiful, utilitarian, and funny.” Yup. That’s what we like!

    — Sue

  • Jan 03, 2021

    Love, love all of your designs and gave away the holiday cups as Christmas gifts. Would love a tote or purse with the frogs, or any other amphibian or reptile! Can’t wait for the throw, backpack, troll bowl and travel mug!
    Happy 2021!
    Jenn Hutchins
    Manassas, VA

    — Jenn

  • Jan 03, 2021

    Your fashion sense,
    The universe having thus far conspired to keep me from enjoying Beardsley prints on which the protagonist rocks facial hair, perhaps you + 2021 will provide my fulfillment.
    …I put down to experience.

    — Sally Bradshaw

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