The artist TAMARA ZIPPEL is known as a passionate painter and performance actress with the group DIE SEGEL, but for quite some time, she has devoted herself to a new creative genre and is now also making interesting clay jugs. But they are not just any clay jugs, they are the typical, traditional and fantastic Frankfurt cider containers, the so-called „Bembel“. That’s how it started, and now she creates all sorts of vessels and also a lot of beautiful works of art around this theme. She also not only paints the objects, but even potters them and burns them herself. This is her new label DIPPEL ZIPPEL.
At the Höchster Design Parcours, which took place near Frankfurt in September, Tamara won the first prize for her creations with DIPPEL ZIPPEL. Congratulations! As a result, she is also automatically part of the jury team for next year’s event. But before that, first another awesome event is taking place: The SLOWART FESTIVAL in Griedel is scheduled from 16th to 18th September, which Tamara initiated and offers a great program with many other artists and contributors over several days. If you are around you should definitely visit that happening! In an interview with the artist, we talked extensively about DIPPEL ZIPPEL, her creative work and the upcoming SLOWART FESTIVAL.
People know you for your performance art in the group “Die Segel” or for your paintings. But some time ago you started a new project and you are making creative jugs and Bembel, so-called “Dippel Zippel”. Tell us more about how did you come up with it and how long have you been doing it?
As a creative person, I am constantly reinventing myself and my art. I find my inspiration in many things from my everyday life, I love trying out new techniques and I really enjoy dealing with new materials. My creative horizon is basically endless. That’s why I feel just as much at home in performance as I do in painting or now with pottery. My mum, who was born and raised in Frankfurt, introduced me to Bembeln for the first time. She wanted to give away Bembel to the Saarland and was therefore looking for a special, unusual example, different from the traditional pieces in dove gray and blue. Up to this point, I had no idea that hardly anyone outside of Hesse knew a Bembel and that such a great tradition was associated with it. Thanks to your input, I got to work on the first drafts and drawings and shortly thereafter I burned the first Bembel in a good friend’s basement.
A typical Frankfurt vessel is the Bembel, which is traditionally used to serve apple wine. You paint these ornaments in your very own artistic way and you also make the mugs yourself. You also recently posted something about the apple wine cult figure Fraa Rauscher. Tell us more about how your Dippel relates to the Frankfurt Bembel. Why did you choose these objects?
My painting on the bembles is a bit like the city of Frankfurt, a melting pot of parallel realities of life. Colors and harsh contrasts are what characterize Frankfurt’s urban culture and what I try to capture and visualize – fused with my childhood and the traditions I learned in Frankfurt. My “Dippe” are basically a declaration of love to the city and to both of my parents. The song by Frau Rauscher fits perfectly into the picture. People still like to sway and sing to this day. If you take a closer look, or rather listen, it becomes clear that the story of Frau Rauscher is not only funny and/or cute, but actually very hard. This is exactly how I observe Frankfurt. Everything exists side by side: rich and poor, happy and sad, carefree and hard. As a true Frankfurter, I have always been influenced by the city, just like my art.
Tell us a little more about making these dipples. What materials do you use to form them and what equipment do you use? How do you burn the whole thing and how was your experience with the first attempts?
For the brackets I use clay from the Rhineland-Palatinate. Clay is a great material, it comes straight from the earth and is incredibly durable. During excavations, for example, ancient clay bowls are still being found that tell us about the everyday life of people 2000 years ago. The connection to nature, heritage and working with my hands is what I love about working with clay. Combined with water and body heat, the material can be brought into almost any shape. The only other equipment you need is a clay kiln. It’s in my art workshop, which I set up on an old farm not far from Frankfurt.
The painting then follows in a second step. Here you sometimes choose strong, sometimes pale colors, but the design is mostly abstract and looks modern. A traditional object with a modern design. Tell us more about how you paint the Dippel. What materials do you choose and how do you design the graphics and patterns?
My fondness for ancient cultures and folklore drew me particularly to the Bembel. When I paint, I try to perfect the imperfect, i.e. not a straight line, because only then is it really alive. For this reason, each Bembel is also unique. The color palette of my paintings and performances also accompanies me in the Bembel art. I keep an eye on the past and like to be inspired by it. But as an artist, I also allow myself to create something new. This is how I process Frankfurt tradition with a modern influence.
You don’t just create the Dippels and paint them, you also made drawings and paintings of Dippel, for example. You also post texts and information about it. Tell us more about it.
The topic of Bembel and the tradition associated with it is a super interesting topic if you really deal with it. As with so many other traditions, most people are not even aware of where they come from, because unfortunately the topics are often only very superficially discussed and disseminated. Like the song by Frau Rauscher, there are a few stories and poems in addition to the Bembel culture that give us so much more insight into Hessian history and its people than meets the eye at first glance. People and their stories have always been my elixir of inspiration. That’s why I try to capture all the facets of this traditional passion, visualize them and pass them on to other people.
You basically came up with a whole new label and design concept. The whole thing is called “Zippel Dippel” and it includes almost the entire art of this object. Are other creations conceivable here? For example, other vessels? Or other things related to Dippel, such as knitted Dippel scarves? Tell us more about “Dippel Zippel” and your idea.
I see “Dippel Zippel” as a new beginning, a kind of traditional creative playground without restrictions. A tribute to tradition and family. Where exactly the journey will take us is still open at this point in time. First everything will revolve around the world of the Bembel. Cider mugs, which can also be used as coffee mugs, will be just as much a part of it as thematically appropriate prints, handmade tiles or a booklet of poems. For the Handkäs with music, for example – a typical Frankfurt dish that is often eaten with Appelwoi (=best cider ever!) – I am planning to design suitable plates. And for the die-hard Bembel friends among us, there will be a small series of screen-printed posters on Bembel. I actually have a few ideas in the pipeline at the moment and am very excited and curious about what can be implemented.
What artwork are you working on right now? What objects have you created in the last few days and which dip will you create next?
I am currently painting some small “Fussteller” (=footplate), for the typical Hessian speciality, the “Handkäs” with music. (=super delicous cheese!). Because everything in life has to be hand and foot. I like to eat from my musicians myself. Then I am busy producing new colourful Bembel and mugs for the slowArt in Griedel and for a “Dippel Zippel” Bembel stand at the Kunstverein Montez. At the Kunstverein Montez I will be a guest at the talk show format “Melli talks with.” There are still tickets available, come around at 8 p.m. on September 17th! The “slowArt Griedel” and “Melli talks with” both take place on the same weekend. That’s life. I’m looking forward to both. The slowArt Griedel is taking place for the very first time and there are incredibly great and very different artists on display. On September 17th more than 15 female artists will exhibit at six different courtyards in the town Griedel Butzbach. On Friday, September 16th, there will be a lecture from the Historical Museum in Dorfteff in Griedel and a PubUpQuizz in the evening. On Saturday, the art exhibition will be open to visitors from 1 p.m.
Not only did you take part in the Höchster Design Parcour for the first time, you even won the 1st prize. Tell us a little more about the event and how it was for you.
It was my very first Bembel stall on the Höchster Design Parcour and I was very excited to exhibit my Dippel Zippel Bembel there. Fortunately, my brother helped me build my very first stand. The stand was on an old courtyard in the Höchster Old Town. The organizers and also the other exhibitors were very helpful and I felt very comfortable on this great event. Each of the 60 exhibitors was able to compete for the Design Prize. When the jury with the G7 delegation came to my small stand to award me the prize, I was completely overwhelmed at first. When the shock subsided, of course, I was overjoyed. Really a unique experience and also a great support for my christening young label “Dippel Zippel”. With the prize money I immediately made the next sound order and thanks to the Höchster Design Course I was almost completely sold out. To apply for the this annualy happening and exhibit there in the beautiful old town of Höchst with the wonderful castle, I really recommend every young designer. Together with the Old Town Festival it was a beautiful and very pleasant atmosphere. Next year, I’ll be on the jury as a prizewinner. Another premiere for me. I am very curious which great exhibitors to expect next year in Höchst.
Tell us something about the “unsuccessful” work. In the beginning, Dippel must have broken or didn’t turn out the way you had imagined. And I think especially with pottery things can break or not take the desired shape when fired. But you also learn from it as an artist and craftsman. How was that for you?
Especially at the beginning some bangles burst while burning, which happens when I work too fast and the clay hasn’t dried properly. That’s hard, because I open the lid of the clay kiln and see how a week’s work in the kiln has exploded. Then you have to go back and do better. Patience is an important quality that my pottery can practice well. I also ripped a few mugs and plates while drying because I formed them too wet or too thin. In the meantime I know what thickness I simply need from my pottery. As with many things in life, it is a matter of practice. How the sound behaves and what workflow I need then also depends on the weather. In the last very hot days, for example, the clay dries off incredibly quickly.
You are currently in the process of initiating an art festival. Tell us a bit more about the concept of the event and your idea of this creative coming together.
I am a self-confessed and big fan of the Slow Movement. Together with artist friends we are planning a small but fine art and culture festival in Griedel / Butzbach in the Wetteraukreis. An art and culture festival is planned that will deal with issues of nature conservation, the social consequences and the opportunities that develop from this. We are also planning small workshops and lecture formats on the subject of SlowArt, SlowMovement and SlowFood. We are also currently discussing the possibility of a small producers’ market in the heart of Griedel at the village meeting point.
You have already been able to win some artists and cultural workers for the project. Tell us a little more about the commitments and participants so far.
We have already started planning and are also already looking for institutions and associations that would like to participate and artists who would like to exhibit. We are striving for a conscious and small-scale art festival that also deals with the ecological and social issues of our time. So far we have received enormous support from Griedel itself, the carnival club there and also from other clubs. The Historical Museum Butzbach also intends to offer a workshop for children and young people. On the topic of archeology today, that’s almost what I’m looking forward to the most. As a child, I also wanted to be an archaeologist. There is already a list of artists working in the sustainability context. The slowArt Festival in Griedel is scheduled to take place from September 16th to 18th, 2022. Interested parties can write to us via @slowart.festival on insta.
How can one acquire your beautiful Dippel? Especially if you’re not from Frankfurt. How does shipping work and by “where” do you send your works? You are in the process of setting up an online shop.
Shipping within Germany is super easy and no problem at all. You can find me via @dippelzippel on Insta and a very dear friend and designer @frau.ines set up an online shop for me. At dippelzippel.com you can browse what I do and write to me. In the Hey – Du Store in St. Pauli Hamburg, DippelZippel mugs, plates and Bembel are also sold, but also really many other great things from artists. It really is a beautiful concept store that can also be found online at www.heydu.store. The people in the north use the jars as vases or water jugs. You just don’t know the cider there yet.
Artist: DIPPEL ZIPPEL – TAMARA ZIPPEL
Festival: SLOWART FESTIVAL
Performace: DIE SEGEL
Art Society: KUNSTGESELLSCHAFT
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