In a consumer-focused world full of fleeting trends and throw-away aesthetics, it’s comforting to know that many creatives are still crafting timeless pieces the old-fashioned way. Musicians, painters, sculptors, and craftsmen of all trades have been challenged to be productive through the isolation of the past year. While we’ve been hard at work roasting this years’ new arrivals to perfection, we have also been on the search for the perfect vessel to hold our coffee. As a do-it-yourself coffee roaster, we’ve always prioritized other small businesses and creators over “one-size-fits-all” mass production. In our quest for the ideal cups for our coffee shop, we found a local artist with an incredible portfolio and an eye for functional simplicity.
Aziza Mirzan is a ceramicist based in Brooklyn, New York. Aziza has been honing her unique style over the last five years. We met up with her in her Williamsburg studio last week to introduce our team, see some of her artistic process, and get a closer look at the custom pieces she’s been working on for Afficionado Coffee Roasters.
Aziza welcomed the Afficionado team with cheerful eyes, her smile hidden under a black cloth mask. After a tour of her studio, a space she shares with several other local artists, we brewed some Ethiopian Hamma Collective coffee to test out the prototype avocado-green cups. Good coffee leads to good conversation, and soon we were finding out about Aziza and her background in ceramics.
Aziza is a wealth of knowledge, explaining the different glazes and firing techniques involved in the ceramics process. Her shared studio is a hub for local ceramicists who trade techniques and materials in a community effort to make inspiring work. The range of styles, colors, and textures on display in the studio was a sight to behold. She showed us a set of cups that were ready to be fired in the kiln, as well as another group that had already been cooled and trimmed. She even gave us a quick demonstration of throwing clay- making a quick cup shape on her wheel. The timeless aesthetic and natural tones of our custom pieces were highlighted by the natural light pouring in through the large studio windows. Their hand thrown idiosyncrasies and subtly tapered form create a truly unique vibe that we are proud to call our own. While most of her work is focused on practical dishes, Aziza also expressed her interest in sculpture as an art-form.
In pre-COVID times, Aziza was regularly traveling the world as a tour manager for her partner’s music groups. They played major festivals in Europe, South America and Japan to crowds of music fans. With concerts postponed this past year, she has had more time to focus on ceramics while staying stationary in Brooklyn. She and her partner also own a music studio and record label where they have spent much of the last year recording and working on equipment.
Stay tuned for announcements on our upcoming coffee shop opening, the final fleet of Aziza’s custom ceramics, and a short video documenting our new friendship with Aziza Mirzan.