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Comprised of Baltic amber beads amber teething necklace are designed to be worn by children when they are teething. They are worn around the child’s neck or as a bracelet and cannot be chewed on. Not suitable for children under 36 month.
Posted by Svajunas Petreikis on March 26, 2015 at 4:34pm
Posted by Svajunas Petreikis on March 26, 2015 at 4:32pm
Japanese Traditional Stencils for clothes, paper and other crafts …Continue
Posted by from japan with love on February 9, 2015 at 8:06am
Amber Artisans applies diligent skill and expertise to creating Amber Teething Necklaces that are safe for your little one as well as long lasting. To ensure proper, secure wearing, our amber necklaces have a tight twist clasp as well as safety knots in between each and every bead to prevent…Continue
Posted by Svajunas Petreikis on February 4, 2015 at 11:52am
Photo by Zoë Noble
At first, the looming European Creative Center in northeast Berlin, a former aviation instruments factory, looks bleakly industrial. Once inside, you walk up stark staircases and down dark corridors with flickering lights to get to the door of Rossella Flammia and Paolo Picone’s ceramic studio. As soon as the door opens, the scenery changes dramatically: An abundance of bright light streams through the large windows, filling the 215-square-foot space, where the two designers create sleek porcelain tableware and jewelry for their business, MONDOCUBO.
In 2009, after studying architecture at the University of Naples Frederico II, Rossella and Paolo traveled to Berlin for what was intended to be a two-month holiday. They fell in love with the city and local lifestyle and decided to stay. With their sights set on making the German capital their new home, they sent more than 200 curricula vitae to potential employers. Since their German language skills were fairly limited to words like “Kartoffel” (potato) and “Auf Wiedersehen” (goodbye), they struggled to find outside employment. As an alternative, they decided to start their own small business, drawing on their skills as designers and Rossella’s pottery pastime, which formed the foundation for their product line.
First, they joined an artist collective to start working towards their goal. That helped them get more accustomed to working with their hands on a daily basis and hone their techniques. They started working with an artist who has a studio on the first floor of the European Creative Center the following year. There, they got to know the center’s community of more than 400 artists, designers and musicians, as well as the landlord. In addition to finding a creative community, these new connections helped them secure their own studio in the building when one opened up in 2012. Now, their entire multi-step production process, from design to shipping, takes place within the walls of this sunny space.
Although born from necessity, MONDOCUBO is a manifestation of Rossella and Paolo’s passion for design, ceramics, food and cooking. To build on Rossella’s ceramics skill set, the duo took a short course at a local school, read books, watched instructional YouTube videos and consulted with friends with relevant experience. However, they’ve learned some of their most valuable lessons through trial and error. Always striving to reach their own strict standards of quality, the pair spends eight to 10 hours a day in the studio. “We love our work,” Paolo says. “Sometimes we just can’t stop working.”
Browsing through the porcelain wares displayed on the tables and shelves of their studio, one thing becomes apparent: Paolo and Rossella appreciate refined, minimalist forms. Their jewelry line is composed of smooth porcelain rings and orb-shaped pendants. The symmetrical shapes of the cups and carafes in their tableware collection are accentuated by muted glazes in neutral tones. The studio is set up so that the pieces can be worked on or left to dry as needed throughout the process. A vast quantity of pieces in varying stages of completion line the shelves and workbenches, showcasing the variety of sizes, surface textures, shapes and colors that emerge during each stage of production.
When designing a new product, Paolo and Rossella start by creating a 3-D model, either digitally with a computer program or with cardboard. Since the process, from first sketch to final firing, takes more than two months to complete, this prototyping step is an important method for detecting possible design flaws right away. They take this long production time into account when designing new products. “Our goal is to produce something beautiful that we love,” Paolo says. “But something we can sell as well.” An overly-intricate design that takes ages to produce might make for a production cost —and a price point — too steep for their target market. (Their prices range from $20 for a porcelain ring to $200 for a set that includes a porcelain carafe and four cups.)
Once Paolo and Rossella agree on a new design, they construct a two-piece plaster mold. This is a crucial part of the process, since the quality of the mold dictates the end results. Using a mold allows them to create hundreds of copies of the same design through a casting process. After removing a piece from the mold, they leave it to dry for seven to 10 days — depending on the weather, temperature and humidity — before firing.
Each firing takes two days. After sanding and glazing the bisqueware (unglazed pottery that has been fired once), Paolo and Rossella fire each piece for a second and final time. The resulting products often echo traditional Italian design — with a fresh spin. One of the few non-work-related items found in their studio is an Italian espresso maker called a moka pot, further evidence of the design traditions and daily objects that inspire them.
While working, they like to think about how their customers will integrate their handmade products into their daily lives. How will they hold the espresso cup? How will they grasp a carafe while pouring? “Design for people, this is our mission,” says Paolo. As far as he and Rossella are concerned, the best way to test their products is by using them in their everyday lives.
All photographs by Zoë Noble unless otherwise noted.
How did you learn your craft? Share in the comments.
Sue Burgstaller is a member of Etsy’s Community Programs team. She works closely with the local Etsy seller communities in Germany.