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Alison Appleton’s Teaware Goes Bing, Bang, Bong

Meet Alison, she is the master behind the gorgeous Alison Appleton collection. Her Camellia Tea Cup is featured in our new advert so come and explore what she has got to say about it.

Our fabulous advert first aired on February 19th 2015 leads viewers into a wondrous animated world created from Twinings tea tags, along to the soundtrack of Sophia Lauren’s, Bing, Bang, Bong.

"This advert is all about our leading lady having her first drink of the day, and she enters into this wonderful Twinings world", says Heather Hartridge, Marketing Director of Twinings UK & Ireland.

"And she creates the day she wants to have as she goes through…a great cup of Twinings is a fantastic way of doing a little thing that makes a positive impact".
Watch our Brand New Advert #DrinkItAllIn

Before entering into this magical world, our leading lady Lydia Larson sips her English Breakfast tea from one of our Alison Appleton Camellia cups.

We catch up with an excited Alison Appleton, who was thoroughly delighted to be included in it in the advert.

(Although she had to find a television first: “I haven’t had a television for twelve years, so I had to make an appointment to watch that somewhere”).

Meet Alison

The Interview with Alison

How did you feel when you heard you would be included in the advert?

I was really thrilled when I heard that out of all the mugs and cups in the world (and there are plenty) Twinings chose my design to feature alongside their tea on television.

I couldn’t wait to see the ad!

Can you tell us about the Camellia mug and the Camellia collection?

Camellia is named after Camellia Sinensis, the tea plant. I wanted to design a classic white porcelain teapot but there are so many around, it had to have a touch of the unexpected.

The undulating and contrasting shapes of the top of the pot, the lid and the curved edge on the mugs was inspired by the curving petals of the white blossom on Camellia Sinensis.

In the advert our Twinings woman is sipping English Breakfast tea from your Camellia mug. Previously we have used your teaware to promote the loose tea. Do you think your teaware is good for everyday use too?

Absolutely. I would say that drinking from a lovely piece of porcelain would enhance any drink of tea, whether loose leaf or a bag!

ALISON APPLETON’S BACKGROUND

Having previously been a home furnishings designer Liverpool-based Alison Appleton stumbled into ceramics almost by accident: “I visited a factory in Portugal, who were making really lovely ceramics, but with horrible patterns – so they asked me to put patterns on them”.

Falling in love with the shapes Alison started working with the mould-makers in the factory in order to learn all the skills involved.

Whilst she found the glazing and painting aspect came to her very easily, learning the “intricates”, such as why things should be certain shapes took her a couple of years. 

There is a lot of trial and error when designing teaware. What are the rules that must be followed?

The more experienced you become, the fewer mistakes that you make. I do remember doing a collection of geometric teapots – they are a complete nightmare because the angles are not always that graceful looking and the corners can be quite heavy and chunky.

But certainly the shape, the height and the length of the spout are very important. And other things to consider are not putting the handle too close to the body. 

HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH YOUR DESIGNS?

The basis is to think about the history of tea, and also the cultural occasions when people drink it around the world.

People drink teas at all times, to calm them down, to revive them – I try to think about the environment they will be in and bring in some cultural aspect from different parts of the world: Because tea drinking is very different in lots of parts of the world. 

ALISON AND TEA

Alison believes that: “Once you become a tea fanatic it really does matter to you how you make it.” She has also revealed how she enjoys discovering all the various flavours there are to be tried.

What is your all time favourite tea?

Twinings came up [to Liverpool] to make a blend with me. I love having that at breakfast– it is really delicious. It is exactly how I like it, which is really strong and tasty, with lovely mellow undertones. I would drink it with milk, but that is the only time I’d ever put milk in.

When you are making tea, what goes into the cup first: the tea or the milk?

For me I always put the milk in last, because I like to make sure the tea is exactly how I like it –not with too much milk. When the first porcelain pots came in they were very thin, so pouring in milk first would stop the boiling water breaking them. But that rule is now outdated.  

Do you think people are coming around to the idea of loose tea?

Definitely, I work with lots of people in the tea industry and they all tell me how the loose tea market is growing. 

And do you think that people are becoming more educated about tea in general?

I think that people are aware of the health benefits and the massive variety of flavours. If you know about tea you realise there are lots of different teas for different times of day and occasions. 

Could you describe your kitchen, do you have all of your collections at your home?

I have three daughters so my kitchen is always full of people. We love cooking: we all enjoy really nice food and baking cakes.

My kitchen has all the original cupboards in it and a dining table – there are also lots of shelves full of recipe books and ceramics.

My kitchen is absolutely crammed with ceramics. And all the dishes are out on the shelves, rather than in cupboards.

ALISON APPLETON ON HER CAREER SO FAR

Do you have a career highlight to date?

I’m going to choose something general, rather than one thing. And that would honestly be how all the best tea merchants have really appreciated my teapots.

And that for me is an achievement, because making teapots for tea connoisseurs is what I wanted to do. 

If you hadn’t gone into designing teaware, what do you think you would have done?

My other ideal job would be football pundit, replacing Alan Hanson! I am also a fanatical Liverpool Football Club fan. I can't imagine anything better than being paid to watch and talk about a football match!

All crockery and tea mentioned in this article are available to buy here online at twinings.co.uk.

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