interview with tea cup designer aya from louche lab

Aya and her husband Ned are a very creative couple based out of Brooklyn, NY, he is a photographer, and she is a tea cup designer (amongst other things!). 

Every piece has a story behind the design and every piece is hand drawn and painted. You can find Aya’s tea cups at her store  and you can learn more about Aya and Ned at Louche Lab.

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Tell me about your teaware line – what got you into tea, and into designing teaware?

Actually, it all started with a vase, or rather about 60 of them. A neighbors was having a stoop sale and was trying to sell 600 small vases they got for an event, at the end of the day, when it was clear they won’t sell them, they gave me the whole box and then, I had to find omething to do with them.

A couple of months later I discovered Pebeo paints which I could use on the vases and so I started painting those, after a while the vases were all gone, and then I had to get some more stuff to paint on, since we drink a lot of tea and coffee around here, cups and saucers were the natural next step.

Tell me where in the world you are, how did you get there (what’s the story behind the journey) and where are you thinking of going next?

Ha! I have the best story!

I’m originally from Israel and I lived most of my adult life in Tel Aviv, which is an awesome city, I loved it over there, but then, 5 years ago I met the most amazing guy online. He was creative, cool and perfect for me, the only problem was, he was living in NY.

We communicated online for a couple of months, before I came to visit, then he came to visit, then he came to visit again… in all, we spend about a year talking online for hours a day before we finally decided on NY as the place to be. I moved to Brooklyn, NY about 4 years ago. We got married a few months later and we spend all of our days since together.

As for going next – I really hope we can keep being able to support ourselves making our art and still able to afford living in NY. It’s an expensive city, but I love it. I would really rather not move anywhere any time soon…

What does traveling mean to you?

I used to say that I do my best traveling from the couch. That the biggest and most important journey a person can take is into himself. But I think that I became a little bit more adventurous in recent years and I like traveling more. A couple of years ago my husband and I went on a 2 weeks motorcycle trip down the Appalachian mountain range for his 40th birthday. It was really awesome to see more of America then just NYC area.

I think that now traveling for me is a way to have my ideas and prejudice rechecked and gain a wider, deeper view of the work and as a result, of myself.

What does tea mean to you?

I love tea, for me it’s a way to take a small break in the middle of the day, even if only for a couple of minutes. When I used to work in advertising it was sometimes all I can do to get away from the computer and re-center my thoughts.

Now, that I work from home, it’s a way to show love, and do something nice for one another, we ask one another “can I make you a cup of tea” a couple of times a day.

What’s your favorite tea related memory or location (it can be as simple as enjoying a can of green tea from a vending machine in Japan to participating in a tea ceremony) and why is it special to you?

When I moved to Tel Aviv, there was this fancy looking tea store that I never went into, because it looked so fancy and expensive and I just finished art school and had no money what-so-ever. I used to look at their window display and check out all the china, packets of teas and other paraphernalia. Then one day, when I was really sad and depressed I was walking around and decided to go in. It turned out they had a little café in the back, so I went in, had a cup of tea, drew in my sketchbook and thought for a couple of hours.

I think not too many people knew about it, because it was in the back of a store, and so it was always mostly empty, it became my favorite place to go and be by myself in a very fairy tale like environment and escape the mundane reality for a couple of hours.

If there is one tea you could introduce to everyone in the world, what would it be?

My favorite tea is “Russian Caravan” by Choice, it taste like tea cooked over a camp fire and have a rich smoky scent. I love it on a cold winter day with sugar and milk.

Can you tell me about your favorite tea shop or favorite teaware line (and what makes it totally wonderful)?

My favorite tea store is actually a restaurant called “Roebling tea room” in my neighborhood, they have a really wide selection of teas and the food is creative and fun. I always go there when I’m sick and get their ginger-lemon-mint tea, which is a quick cure for all type of cold and flue.

As of teaware, a little while ago, I found a stack of beautiful cups in a store; a factory called Syracuse China Corporation, which apparently closed a short while ago, made them. They manufactured in America till the end, the design is classic and super simple, they mostly focused on restaurant supply, so it’s all very durable. I got 6 of those and end up listing them on my store after I painted them, Now I’m really sad I didn’t just keep them for myself. Almost every time I’m in a restaurant with really nice dishes I turn a cup upside down and see the Syracuse logo.

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Aya can be found here at her etsy shop and at her website

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