During the process of creating our limited edition, custom ceramic cups, we were lucky enough to spend some time in the studio with Moss Ceramics founder, Tsouni, observing and learning more about the ceramics process.
Inside Turning Earth studios, in a railway arch beneath the overground line between Hoxton and Haggerston stations, we discovered just how involved, focused and time-consuming each stage was.
Every cup began its life as one non-descript, unassuming pound of stoneware clay. Before going anywhere near a potters wheel, it would undergo the process of wedging; a physically involved procedure, this required the repeated (and purposeful) throwing down of the clay onto a work bench in order to remove any air bubbles and to help distribute its water content more evenly.
From there, it would be carefully and exactingly thrown by hand, transforming each ubiquitous lump into the shape of the beautiful and bespoke final pieces. Walking us through the steps she went through 160 times, Tsouni explains:
"For each cup, the clay was centred on the wheel and an indent was made in the centre. The cup walls were pulled up from there. My hands got so used to throwing the shape that by the end of the process, it felt as though they were almost making themselves."
Stamped with our W device, the cups were then left to dry for 24 hours before being checked over the following day for rough edges and imperfections and trimmed accordingly:
"The stamping required the most care – not only does it have to be done when the clay is at a precise point between wet and dry, but if you apply too much pressure you'll affect the shape of the cup. Of course, if you don't apply enough pressure, the stamp won't be bold enough."
Allowed to dry thoroughly for a further 48 hours, the cups then entered the kiln for their first firing at around 1,000oc. From there, each piece could be hand-glazed before being finished with one final firing in the kiln.
Only then were they ready to be shared with us and, subsequently, with you. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
To celebrate our new look, we wanted to do something special and that we hadn't done before. Today, we’re incredibly pleased to be able to showcase the results.
Approaching East London-based Moss Ceramics earlier this year, we’ve since been working closely with founder and one-woman production team, Tsouni, to create a short run of handmade Workshop Coffee cups to add to our shelves.
After reviewing and considering numerous test and sample pieces, the final design is a beautiful, robust and understated handle-less tumbler. Its smooth, glossy white-glazed interior spills out onto the upper-half of the cups exterior before giving way to the contrast of an unglazed, sandy, textural lower-half. Combined, it creates a cup that sits snuggly in the hand and, with solid, thick walls and base, holds the heat well.
Each cup has been thrown by hand and subsequently offers its own nuances and idiosyncrasies, and means that every one of the 160 cups we’ve created is unique.
Having left the studio in Haggerston, 60 of the collection have been gifted to our staff, meaning there are just 100 left.