IN THE WORKSHOP: THE AYASA COLLECTION
Metal Spinning is a highly skilled craft that is central to what we do in our Bangalore workshop at Tiipoi. When we started out in 2014, we struggled to find a craftsperson in Bangalore capable of doing the metal spinning by hand. Most traditional metal spinners had been put out of work by CNC-operated machines, which are no doubt faster and more efficient. But we didn't want to give up on making things the traditional way and continued our search! Eventually, we met Venkatesh Chinappa (A.K.A Venky Anna - Anna means older brother) who came with over 25 years of experience. Today, we're proud to say that Venky Anna is an invaluable member of the workshop team, and makes all of Tiipoi’s brass, copper and aluminium-spun products.
Recently, we launched a Masala Dabba with our friends at Diaspora Co and so excited for this heirloom pairing of single origin spices with a hand-spun brass dabba made by Venky Anna.
We're so happy about how this brass dabba sits perfectly alongside our other spun products which all make up the our 'Ayasa Collection' which in Sanskrit means ‘of metal.' Indian homes and kitchens see materials such as copper and brass regularly used for eating and drinking rather than just decoration. This collection celebrates these materials, but also their utility.
This was our first collection and embodies what we set out to do as design studio. Our idea then – and now – was to celebrate the quiet but considered functionality of Indian household objects that are often not considered design pieces, but absolutely should be.
We searched extensively and eventually met Venkatesh Chinappa (A.K.A Venky Anna - Anna means older brother) who came with over 25 years of experience of spinning metal.
We've already said that metal spinning is at the heart of so many of our products and is central to what happens in our workshop. But apart from the spinning itself, there are several stages that take place before this step, the first of which is sourcing good metal sheet material, be it brass, copper or aluminium. Once we course the material, Venky Anna then cuts it down to size to make 'blanks.'
Another crucial part about metal is spinning is that most products need an appropriate ‘tool’, - think of these as moulds in a way. These tools are made locally in mild steel. We do the drawing for the tool, and pass it on to our (amazing) engineer Vibin, who communicates it to Venky Anna and the toolmaker. Once the tool is made its mounted on the machine, Venky then works on the blanks with a long device called a ‘spoon’ and the desired shape is formed.
Although metal spinning is thought of as an industrial manufacturing process because a machine is involved, it is in reality a highly specialised manual technique that is akin to any skilled handcraft.
Our Ayasa metal storage jar Ayasa metal storage jar was the first product we ever designed so it has a special place for us in our hearts (also it's still our best seller!) and the workshop because it was also the first product ever spun for us by Venkatesh. The jar comes in copper and brass but we also do a coloured range made out of powder-coated, food grade aluminium.
The Indian kitchen has always proved to be a rich source of ingenuity. Inspired by the extended 90-degree rim/ lip found on Indian stainless steel kitchenware, we designed our pourers with rims makes them effectively ‘drip-free’.
While the copper or brass pourers are hand lined with tin to prevent curdling of milk, the coloured pourers are hand-spun out of food-safe aluminium and powder-coated in different bright hues on the outside.
Our trivets are inspired by the stands used inside pressure cookers in India to raise vessels off the base and allow for even cooking. Named Chakra, which in Sanskrit means wheel, they have been designed as continuous rings with no joins and have a unique ‘v’-profile. The trivets are spun in 5 stages and use very little material. In fact, any material left over from the spinning process is used to make our Ayasa jars!
The collection also includes our food-safe Loha Copper bowl and lid and Sama deep drawn (or pressed) nesting trays, which come in lacquered Brass or Copper, and colour powder coated Aluminium.