Dezeen Magazine

Chai pi ke puht cups by Sian Pascale

Chai Pi Ke Puht cups by Sian Pascale

Imagine if every discarded disposable cup grew into a beautiful plant. 

Chai pi ke puht cups by Sian Pascale

Sian Pascale's clay tea cups have seeds embedded in a seam round the side, designed to germinate once the clay starts to break down.

Chai pi ke puht cups by Sian Pascale

The project is based on a tradition of throwaway clay cups in India, now replaced with paper and plastic that don't return to the earth so easily.

Chai pi ke puht cups by Sian Pascale

The project will be on show at Obscura gallery in Melbourne from 8 December until February 2012.

Chai pi ke puht cups by Sian Pascale

Dutch company OAT make a range of biodegradable shoes with seeds embedded in the tongues and last month JAILmake Studio erected a small factory embedding seeds in bricks at Dezeen Space.

Chai pi ke puht cups by Sian Pascale

Here are some more details from the designer:

Pi Ke Puht - Earth, clay, cup, earth

Terracotta, seeds

Ceramic chai cups have been produced in India using locally sourced red clay for thousands of years. Baked at low temperatures they were an economical way of ensuring there was no contamination between the lower caste chai wallahs and the higher caste chai drinkers. The chai wallah serves his customer the sweet, spicy brew ladled into a small ceramic cup, the flavour mixing with the earthy taste of the terracotta vessel. Once drunk, the chai cup is tossed away and the satisfying pop sound it makes when being flung from train carriages was once heard all over India.

The local name for these cups is pi ke puht- Pi ke meaning to drink and puht being the sound of the cup smashing. In recent times these traditional cups are being replaced with plastic cups and the cycle of earth, clay, cup, earth has been disrupted leaving mountains of waste across India.

These fast disappearing vessels not only embody an alternative view on consumption culture but are also beautiful and functional objects on their own. Produced en-masse, yet hand made and individual. Throw aways, that have become precious.

Here embedded with seeds (nasturtiums, carrot, rocket, parsley) they can’t be kept precious, their potential only fulfilled once discarded.

These cups have been hand thrown in terracotta clay and bisque fired. Seeds have been embedded into a clay and water ‘slip’ and have been applied to the a groove in the cup.

Sian Pascale is an artist, architect, designer and writer, whose work encompasses a range of mediums. From knitted sculpture to ceramics and illustration, the artwork Pascale produces draws on the architectural framework in which she trained as well as her extensive travels. Born in Melbourne, Pascale also lived in Denmark and the Netherlands where she studied and worked in architecture. During this time she began to combine her artistic and architectural practices and started exhibiting works. She has since exhibited her artwork both in Australia and abroad and continues to practice architecture and interior design, as well as publish articles on the arts and design.

Sian Pascale works in a variety of mediums and techniques. Currently training in classical ceramic techniques, Pascale likes to tread the line between perceived craft practices and art practices. This exploration extends beyond ceramics to include machine knitting, embroidery and sewing. Also an adept illustrator, Pascale also finds herself exploring the world around her via simple line drawings combined with watercolours and acrylics.

Obscura gallery, First Floor,
285 Carlisle Street,
East St Kilda,
Melbourne, Australia

Opening Thursday 8th December 2011 until February 2012