Sour grapes: new brand Cult Ceramics brings a modern bent to fermentation
Coinciding with the opening of London Craft Week today, new earthenware brand Cult Ceramics makes its debut with the ‘Vinegar Vase’. ‘Just over a year ago, on a crisp December morning, a chap called Jonathan Brown visited my studio with an old-fashioned French crock full of tasty English red wine vinegar and enormous potential,’ explains designer Billy Lloyd. ‘Upon further investigation of the vessel, we quickly realised there was an opportunity to give the traditional a radical makeover.’
The new product is designed and developed to transform leftover wine or cider into vinegar. Manufactured in the elysian pottery fields of Stoke-on-Trent, the vase is slip cast by hand in porcelain, in a hexagonal shape reminiscent of traditional fermentation vessels that Lloyd and Brown had researched throughout the process. ‘The more we dug deeper into the history of these ancient pots the more we realised that fermentation vessels and pottery go hand in hand,’ says Lloyd.
The vase comes together in the studio
He and Brown noticed that these vessels haven’t changed much throughout history, their circular forms largely informed by the hand-making process behind them. The key behind the design process was to keep the container faithful to its historical forms, while adding a contemporary twist.
The set of three vessels fit next to each other thanks to their hexagonal shape, whiled a simple top lid replaces the traditional tap – another modern touch, that Lloyd explains, encourages interaction with the liquid and users to peek inside. ‘Billy's radical hexagonal design of the “Vinegar Vase” means these fermentation crocks will look fabulous in a modern kitchen, and will do you good at the same time,’ says Brown.
‘Jonathan’s passion for vinegar, food, wine and craft was infectious,’ adds Lloyd. ‘Together we set about giving the rustic, old school design of the French farmhouse vinaigrier a contemporary and radical makeover. We wanted to design a vessel which would be at home in a stylish contemporary kitchen and would trigger people's curiosity.’