Gleena's Touchable Tumblers and Tea Cups
A long-ago lesson about tea mugs: Smooth porcelain feels more comforting to the lips than a nonporcelain mug.
Asya Palatova had the same reaction with her hands, when she first worked with porcelain clay. After earning a ceramics degree at RISD in 2004, she opened her porcelain company, Gleena (Russian for “clay”) the following year. Palatova’s simple designs and soothing colors—seen in tumblers, trays, plates, platters, “wee teas” and mugs—were influenced by childhood summers in her grandmother’s gardens and orchards, outside St. Petersburg. Her love of animals and her concern for endangered species show up in delicate drawings on her pieces, here an elephant or fox, there a whale or octopus.
The “wee tea cups” have a letter stamped into them for the animal pictured, and they can be custom-made. That stamped indentation gives Palatova’s cups another tactile sensation, as do the dotted sea urchin cups. Palatova works with porcelain clay from England, which has no added mineral or organic matter. She transfers the animal designs onto the glazed pieces and then fires them again for a food-safe surface. The “wee teas” and tumblers are customer favorites.
Available at Gleena.com, Studio Hop or RISD Works in Providence; in shops across the country; and at the annual RISD Alumni Sale in May.