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Today we grill the creator of some of the most intriguing ceramics we've come across, Philadelphia-based ceramicist Ian Anderson of Aandersson.

Can you tell me a bit about your background? Where are you from and what were you doing before you started Aandersson?

I am from southern California and moved out to Philadelphia a few years ago. I had an informal background in ceramics from college, so when I moved out to Philadelphia I picked it up again and decided to start selling what I was making - that's how AANDERSSON came about. It started with a concept about challenging more traditional craft-oriented forms and I have kept that as the core idea behind the brand. Whatever we are putting out in the world, it always has to be challenging and thought provoking.

Have you done any training? 

I worked at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia for a couple of years in order to get the technical experience that was necessary to design ceramic products. Ceramic is a very complex material and there is a lot of chemistry involved not only in the process of firing (heating the clay to upwards of 2000 degrees Farenheit), but also in the clay and glaze composition itself. All of the porcelain we use was originally chosen based on it's very distinct physical characteristics like durability and warp resistance.

Can you tell me about the journey from concept to product?

I usually start with an idea of what kind of form I want to make and then the material and construction method come after. Form is a really important tool for me to communicate AANDERSSON's concept. For this collection of mugs, I started with some basic shapes and made dozens of prototypes with various shapes combinations to find out which ones were the most visually interesting and ergonomic.

What material do you use and why?

For ceramic products we use porcelain. It is the most utilitarian and hardest ceramic product, it resists chipping and is extremely durable. 

Gun to your head… which is your favourite design from the range and why? 

I love the Annika mug, the handle is so fun and actually very functional. It's amazing, when you live with these mugs you find really interesting ways to use them that are surprisingly comfortable. 

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I hate the term minimalist, so I wouldn't use that word. I like to say the aesthetic is challenging - I want to make the user think about what they are using instead of making the item so nondescript that the user isn't thinking about it. I hope these products are life-enhancing, challenging and surprising.

What were some of the challenges involved with manufacturing such complex pieces? 

Great question...there were a lot of challenges. The Shapes Mugs require the shapes to look independent of the mug body and one another - this is very hard with traditional production methods. To achieve all of the right visual details on the mugs, extra hand work is necessary and that adds to the cost, but it's so worth it.

What are you working on at the moment?

I'm working through some furniture right now. AANDERSSON will hopefully have a furniture presentation sometime next year!

What’s your secret vice?

Seinfeld Re-runs. I can't stop watching ever.


Check out the new Aandersson collection here.