My love for handmade pieces with a story is without limits. And if we talk about plant pots than my love thrives even more. When Philipp Liepelt, a Berlin based guy, dropped me a message on Instagram telling me the story of Khashkhash I was intrigued. Beautiful clay plant pots handmade by local families in the mountains and deserts of Iran – this short description already entails the promise of endless stories. However, let us first have a look at the story of Philipp and his label Khashkhash.
Philipp is traveling regularly to Iran and the region for professional reasons. Actually, he is traveling to the region to research its botanical bounty. Whether it’s Onocyclus iris from Israel or wild tulips from the Elburs mountains in Iran – I can only imagine how amazing his trips must be! During his regular trips to Iran he started noticing the rich tradition of craftsmanship from gaffers to metal workers and pottery. Most of these crafts were kept alive through small family businesses applying ancient techniques. However, despite their remoteness in the mountains of Iran, those small family businesses suffer from globalization and cheap mass production. So he wanted to help those people preserve their tradition and craftsmanship. As a result Khashkhash was born.
But these plant pots are utterly beautiful. Handmade with traditional techniques in the Iranian mountains they seem to carry the colours and stories of their origin. Layers of terracotta hues mix with sandy beige and soft pink tones. Little cracks and imperfections tell the story of soil turned into a lasting object by the hands of man. But they are not only beautiful to look at: the touch and feel of these plant pots is just amazing! They are fired in traditional circular kilns and the rich colours are a result of the highly mineral clay of the region.
Adding beautiful, raw, handmade plant pots to your home and supporting a local community in Iran to preserve their tradition and craftsmanship? I think that is the way to go and shop nowadays. I wish there were more initiatives like Khashkhash to help communities across the globe and bring their unique products to a bigger audience. If it wasn’t for Instagram, I would have never stumbled upon these plant pots and the intriguing story behind them. Equally Philipp fell in love with those plant pots and started bringing them back to Berlin from each of his trips. His friends loved them too and then the idea was born to bring a little business to life.
In order to make Khashkhash a reality, Philipp spent a few weeks with the families in Iran. Finally, everything worked out and the planters are available in Europe since May 2017. Today Khashkhash offers plant pots in three sizes (14 / 18 / 20 cm diameter). I am a lucky bastard to have two of those pots in my home now and have a look, just how beautiful do they look with a plant? I repotted my banana plant into the bigger pot and a rooted Monstera obliqua cutting in the smaller pot. These plant pots are also ideal for cacti and succulents because they are pretty porous and the desert hues will match perfectly with desert plants, no? Well an idea for more Khashkhash pots in my home!
Photography by Philipp Liepelt / interior pics by Igor Josifovic