News - McHenry County

Artist designs mugs for Conscious Cup, highlighting Crystal Lake, Cary landmarks

Graphic artist Ashley Klockenga, inspired by fond memories of visits to Crystal Lake's Main Beach as a kid, sketched and created mugs for Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters showcasing suburban iconography for the 2022 holiday season.

Artist Ashley Klockenga remembers coming to Crystal Lake as a kid every summer and swimming in the lake with family friends.

When the opportunity presented itself to create artisan mugs for Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters, Klockenga said her designs were inspired by those childhood memories.

“I really love being able to share things that are great about the community,” said Klockenga, who grew up in Brookfield and now lives in northern Ontario, Canada, with her husband, Matt.

“My husband is from Crystal Lake. We wondered if we made sandcastles together or chased each other around the wooden playground once upon a time. I have such fond memories.”

Klockenga first designed a mug with Crystal Lake iconography, including Main Beach, and then Conscious Cup had her produce designs for its four other suburban locations, including Barrington, Cary, Libertyville and Palatine.

The mugs were made available at Conscious Cup locations earlier this month.

Graphic artist Ashley Klockenga, inspired by fond memories of visits to Crystal Lake's Main Beach as a kid, sketched and created mugs for Conscious Cup Coffee Roasters showcasing suburban iconography for the 2022 holiday season.

Although Klockenga’s background is in graphic design, she said she became interested in sketching about three years ago, when her fourth daughter was born.

The birth didn’t take place until more than a week past the due date, and Klockenga said drawing helped manage her anxiety during that time. Since then, she said she’s found it very fulfilling to sketch places that have significance to her and her family.

“I love hand drawing and doing things that are just more kinetic,” Klockenga said, adding that she and her husband take the hand drawings and then digitally color them for the mugs.

The Klockengas reached out to Conscious Cup Coffee earlier in the summer, as the company was looking for opportunities to showcase both local art and the towns where the cafes are located, said Paige Benkert, Conscious Cup Coffee’s operations manager.

“We were really excited to see what Ashley came up with,” Benkert said. “We love working with local artists for merchandise.”

Conscious Cup’s locations include artwork around the cafe done by independent artists, Benkert said, and so far the mug promotion has been very successful.

Klockenga said she consulted with municipal staff and community members to come up with what landmarks to showcase for each of the towns.

“It has been an honor to hear what locals love about their community and be able to tell their story through art,” Klockenga said. “We’re super thankful. I’m just a regular mom, and this has totally been a passion project.”

So far, Klockenga said they have sold about 400 mugs through Conscious Cup, and have stock through Christmas. At the moment, the mugs are available only in-store at Conscious Cup locations.

More information can be found at consciouscup.com.