tea design: abby berkson on why teapots are the masterclass for potters

abby berkson

Abby Berkson is a potter out Northampton, MA.   She had a BFA in ceramics from Alfred University; assisted Connie Talbot at High Hollow Pottery for four years before striking off on her own.  Abby has a love of textiles, children’s illustration and has spent lots of time teaching children’s ceramics classes – all of these things are a big influence on her teaware range.

Tell me a little about what you design and make – what got you into tea, and into designing teaware.

As a potter, I think it is important to provide people with cups that are lovely for tea drinking.  Mugs and teacups are some of the most important pieces for a potter to make well- they are the most purchased and the most used, and have such an intimate place in peoples’ daily life.

What is your inspiration when designing, are there other designers or external sources that you draw upon;  do you have any design heroes.

I love to look at teapots, both handmade and commercially made, to see the different ways that people make things function well.

Teapots are like a master course in ceramic design – the perfect and complicated marriage of form and function.

The spout, handle, body and lid have to come together in a way that is both visually pleasing and satisfying to use.

Tell me where in the world you are; what do you love about this place.

In Northampton, Massachusetts, where I live, there is a really vibrant art community. A lot of potters live in this area, including the one I trained under.  Living here really makes it feel possible to make a living as an artist, which I appreciate since a lot of people consider it impossible!  It is a really nurturing and positive place to live, as well as being beautiful.

What does tea mean to you.

Tea often means a break time to me.  I think it is important to have some rest time during the day, some time for breathing and letting in some space.  I think a cup of tea is the perfect way to do this.  Having tea in a beautiful handmade cup really adds to this experience- because it makes teatime a more special occasion, and gives me something lovely to connect with.

What’s your favorite tea related memory or location and why is it special to you.

I was a studio assistant to one of my professors during my senior year in art school.  Every day at about 4 pm he would bring out a lovely tray with a teapot full of black tea, teacups, cream and sugar, and some type of lovely baked good.  Time for high tea!  I still need a pick me up around that time of day, and a snack and a cup of tea is perfect!

Can you tell me about your favorite tea-shop or favorite teaware.

I have a porcelain teapot made by Constance Talbot at High Hollow Pottery here in Massachusetts which is one of my most prized possessions,  It is the perfect size, pours like a dream, and is just thick enough to keep my tea nice and warm for a long time.  I love it!

Where can people find your designs or get in touch with you.

I have a website: abbyberkson.com, and an etsy shop: abbyberkson.etsy.com

4 Responses to “tea design: abby berkson on why teapots are the masterclass for potters”
  1. Lilac says:

    They are so adorable!!! I think I may have a look on her etsy page… 😉

  2. zorach says:

    I really like Abby’s comments about what tea means to her, having it be a break and a time for rest during the day. And these are adorable cups!

  3. Dacey says:

    First of all i would like to praise tea art it is awesome and looking so cute.And i too agree with Alex.Alex has explained the tea art in actual words.Good job Alex

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