Chunky Porcelain and Tea
06 Mar '15 —
Paper and Tea’s concept store in Charlottenburg is located on an eclectic residential corner. Directly off a busy street, the area has an array of interesting shopping choices, from artistic jewelry to cozy cafes and restaurants.
I had never been in the area and was wandering around one weekend back in December when the shop had caught my eye. Thick handmade artisanal porcelain cups were on display in the front window.
Delighted to step in from the cold, I found a few employees at a small counter having tea. One shop attendant had accidentally poured too much water into a small teapot and it spilled over the counter. Giggling ensued as she and her collegues moped the mess away with some paper towels.
The space is immaculate, with modern design details. It would look a bit intimidating without the giggles and spills. It was pleasant to know that the attendants had an interest for tea.
Wall to wall through the entire shop are little nooks that feature different types of porcelain. It’s like walking through a life size curiosity cabinets. The colors and texture and shapes of one box varied from one to the next, providing an exciting way to experience a variety of designs.
Some ceramics were unglazed, some had a matte finish. Holding each tea cup was a delight. The range of sizes reflected the different usage. Larger bowl-like ceramics were for Matcha Teas and the accoutrements (including the whisk) were on display.
In the center was an island with rows and rows of teas displayed. Placards mentioned the origin and miscellaneous notes. Visitors were allowed to smell the teas by opening the shallow petri dish containers. The shop is an experience that entices the senses.
After going a full round examining almost every single piece of porcelain, I decided on a wheel thrown cup. The glaze was a little heavier in one patch, providing a sense of irregularity that I enjoyed in artisanal products.
One of my favorite pieces of ceramics in the shop were the clay tea cups by Christine Roland. The shop collaborates with the Berlin based Danish artist in offering her handmade pieces. These were the pieces that originally attracted me into the shop. I walked to the window and got to pick up one of Christine’s pieces. It felt good to hold something so substantial, with so much weight (these days, almost everything seems extra light due to manufacturers trying to cut costs). Like holding a hunk of mud, there was a very raw aesthetic that emerged from each piece.
"She has her storefront atelier and showroom on Pücklerstraße, fires her creations in a kiln across the street, and lives around the corner with her family. A sense of place and local connection is important to her, and all her materials are sourced from Germany. 'I think it’s a beautiful thing to work within local parameters,' she says."
For a full interview on Christine Roland’s work, visit paperandtea.com.
Images via cancatstalktodogsintheirownway.net.