On top of a healthy design consultancy business and her own range of luxury crockery, Alison Appleton is on a mission to educate us on drinking tea.
Tell us about Alison Appleton
“I’ve worked at home as a freelance designer for the last 16 years, but I’ve always wanted to spend more time creating really beautiful things – and I wanted to develop the business into something more than simply me designing, so we moved into our office and I now employ people to work with me – selling my designs and exporting them around the world.
“The designs I create tend to be very natural, organic and simple. I’ve just done a design for my own range – ren, Japanese for lotus – which is a white mug with the imprint of a leaf on.
“The infuser rests on the top of the mug like a petal with a little cup on top. So the cup acts as a lid and when you’re ready you take the cup off and pour the tea into it; like a flower unfolding.
“My range is very specific – it’s luxury tea-drinking. All the teapots have filters and they’re designed for people to enjoy tea in the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.”
What else are you brewing?
There’s a charity in Derry called Children In Crossfire for Children in Tanzania. I’m hoping to design a teapot – Pot For Peace – for a department store and all the profits would goto charity.
We’ll be selling tea (imported from India, China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Africa) from our website and in the real world too. Next up is a ‘charista’ section on the website that will show people how to clean their teapots, make the perfect tea and demonstrate the differences between tea. Green teas, black teas, fruit teas, iced teas.
Why is tea important?
“We should all take the time to do things properly; if anyone every buys one of my teapots I want them to use it, regardless of whether they get chipped or stained. I just want them to do it properly.
“Drinking tea from teabags is a completely different experience from drinking loose leaf. Many teas are ruined if they’re brewed with boiling water and most are spoiled if brewed for three minutes.
“I started with teapots because I’m a very hospitable person and we always have people visiting. In every culture in the world tea represents relaxation, chatting, comfort and taking a break. So a teapot’s a wonderful thing and a wonderful vehicle for these shapes.”
• Visit Alison Appleton’s Tea House on Lark Lane