02 Aug, 2018
Find your reusable cup style with one of these handmade beauties
In our fast-paced world, there’s something indulgent about drinking coffee or tea from a real ceramic cup, an experience which many reusable coffee cups don’t quite capture. Enter Planet Cups by Sunshine Coast makers, Renton Bishopric and Clare Botfield: their gorgeous handmade, ceramic cups are a game-changer in the market and perfect for a barista-made brew from your fave coffee joint!
Living Smart caught up with Renton to find out more about Planet Cups and their business, Pottery for the Planet, which began in 2013 after they created a series of limited edition ceramic bowls called “Coal for Breakfast” to raise funds for a campaign against the development of a coal port in north Queensland.
LS: Pottery for the Planet cups are a gorgeous option for reusable coffee cups on the go. How did the concept come about?
RB: Clare and I have always been environmentally conscious consumers and would avoid using disposable things like coffee cups. We decided a good handmade cup with a lid was something we would find really handy so we decided to develop some prototypes and the rest is history!
LS: Can you please share a little about your business: who is involved and where your products are created?
RB: I am a second-generation production potter, a profession handed to me by my parents. Clare is an artist and designer. We started Pottery For The Planet together and very quickly needed more help so we now have a team of awesome creative and passionate people working with us to create the product.
The majority of the work is produced and dispatched from our Sunshine Coast studio. We also have a good friend making cups out of his studio in Western Australia, my Dad making cups from his studio on the Capricorn Coast and a family run pottery studio abroad.
Most of our cups are thrown on a wheel with some produced in a mould but either way the process is all completed by hand by a small team. Each cup is made, turned, dried, fired, glazed and fired again, sanded and finished by hand so it’s quite a time-consuming process. By the time a customer receives their cup it has been worked on by several pairs of hands.
LS: Please share with us a little about your backgrounds in the creative industries and how your work is connected with your activism.
RB: Clare and I both come from creative/artistic backgrounds. I learned from my parents who have been running their own pottery and art gallery since before I was born.
Clare completed Fine Arts and Education degrees and has worked as a high school Visual Arts and Design teacher as well as being a practicing artist.
We both come from families with strong environmental values and have been involved in various environmental causes over the years. I fought hard in my local area to protect the Reef and the Keppel Coast and Clare has jumped on board with whatever causes were presented wherever she’s lived including being on the Greenpeace Actions Team to protect the old growth forests in Tassie. After the success of the Coal for Breakfast bowls, we launched Pottery for the Planet, to create sustainable products that help reduce landfill.
LS: Why would you recommend Planet Cups over the other options available?
RB: Well, we love ceramics and tell everyone that things always taste better out of a beautiful ceramic cup and that once you’ve been drinking out of nice ceramics you’ll never go back…but we are biased! There are a lot of great reusable cup options on the market but you’d choose a Pottery For The Planet Cup if you want a plastic-free option and if you love things that are beautiful, unique and handmade.
LS: What were your main considerations when developing the unique style of these cups?
RB: The main goal was creating a product free from plastic. After that, there were practical things to consider such as car cup holders but most of all we wanted to create a product that was really beautiful with a range that would appeal to many different personalities and individual tastes.
We figured that the best way to change behaviour was to create a product that was really desirable so that people would choose to buy a sustainable product and start reducing waste by using it simply because they liked the look of it. They might not have initially started out with a goal of helping reduce waste but they just couldn’t resist that pretty cup.
LS: What are they made from and why were those materials chosen?
RB: The blends of clay we use can be fired to very high temperatures (vitrified) so it’s really durable and hygienic compared to low fired ceramic. Clay is a great choice because it comes from the earth and when a cup is eventually broken, it simply goes back to the earth as stone.
We chose silicone for the lids because it lasts a really long time, its properties mean its flexible enough to easily fit our cups and best of all it won’t break down into micro particles which is obviously a big problem with plastic.
LS: Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
RB: Clare and I are both artists and so are all the people who work with us so there is never any shortage of inspiration. Most of our inspiration is drawn from nature as well as from quirky things that make us smile. We are constantly experimenting and developing new glaze designs, it’s lots of fun.
LS: Which style is your personal favourite?
RB: I love all the textured ones that our potter Stevie Roberts hand carves. I think Clare has just about got a 6oz cup in every design because she can’t decide on a favourite.
LS: Describe the experience of drinking from a Planet Cup.
RB: Your coffee will stay nice and warm, you’ll feel good because you’ll be proud you didn’t contribute to landfill and you’ll be late to work because everyone will stop you and ask you where you got that cup.
LS: What sizes are available?
RB: Currently 6, 8 and 12oz sizes
LS: Where can we buy Planet Cups?
RB: There are over 100 amazing Pottery For The Planet stockists Australia-wide. They’re all listed on our website and if there’s no stockist nearby, you can shop online.
With so many amazing coffee cup choices available, there is an option for everyone. Show your style and choose to reuse #byosunshinecoast