Social Norm

Photographed by Lan Yang


Empty your cup 

is a story that connects with the norm of filling the cup to 70%, and resonate and with my value and beliefs.

It teaches us to organize our thoughts and clear our minds before taking an action.


From my research, I gathered the following reasons that led to the formulation of the mentioned norm.


Tea is always serve hot. When the cup is filled to the rim, the chances of guests burning their fingers are higher. Adding to that it is not comfortable to bring the tea to the mouth.


Traditionally, a host pouring a cup full for a guest is a negative gesture that hints at the fact that the host wants the guest to leave soon.


The space above the tea reminds us to leave room for ourselves to relax and recharge.


it is yet another reminder that we all need our own personal space within any relationship


It is hard to taste and smell the aroma when the cup is too full. The right amount of tea allows aroma to spread evenly.

Maintain Aroma

In addition to the third point, the space between the surface of the tea and the rim can better maintain the aroma.


Through this project, my goal is to reinforce the idea behind the unspoken rule of filling up about 70% of tea cup. This norm establishes a deeper connection between the human and vessel and what’s in it.

Beyond reasons of formality and safety, it talks about friendship and affection. Nowadays, such practices are clouded by our fast paced life style. This ceramic piece is intended to bring the users away from this clutter, and introduce them to a slower and more careful discipline.


There are 5 patterns that were developed.
The glazes that were mainly used are:

1 2.5% Charcoal stain with studio clear
2 Studio clear
3 Black underglazed pencil
4 Duncan charcoal underglaze.

The research stirred my passion to continue the topic of 70% filled cups. Keeping aside the surface-level idea behind this norm, I was exposed to a much deeper discipline.

The delicateness within the 30% cup became a catalyst to a more philosophical perspective

— When your cup is full, you no longer have the capacity to listen and take advice. It celebrates the incompleteness of our minds.

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