“We woke up to an odd mixture of the ocean sounds and people rushing around our campervan. We knew we had parked in the 'day-use only' area but since campsites were limited in Santa Monica we decided to take the chance. Trying to think of the upcoming explanation we crawled out of our sleeping bags and opened the sliding door. To our surprise, we saw a massive filming crew arranging the film set and a quick breakfast. We looked towards the cliffs and the calm ocean waves on the other side of the parking spot and decided to fix some coffee and snacks of our own.
These rental campervans usually come with a box of dishes and a small propane stove. I set up a table next to the open trunk, placed the stove, and got out the box with dishes. It took some effort to figure out the propane connection but as I turned to Yana with the good news of this operation’s success, my proud smile turned into a shocked face when I saw the whole box with cups and plates fall off the trunk of the van.
The whole thing shattered. So we packed the glorious stove back, folded the table, swept the broken dishes bits, and headed to the nearest Starbucks.” - Memories of California camping adventures with the best friend in 2018.
Hi there, my name is Masha. I founded Couloir [ART.] in 2019 (less than a year after the events described above).
Born and raised in Ukraine I studied fine art and cinematography in the National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Even though I was fortunate to visit the most iconic museums and historic places both in Ukraine and Western Europe I was always driven by the vastness and adventure spirit of the US. So the year I graduated with a Master's in Fine Arts degree I left for New York to explore the theatrical field and later to the state of Arizona to enjoy some good weather and Thanks Giving meal my family’s friend invited me to.
Little did I know that by the time I landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport my own country of Ukraine had started a national revolution with a million people protest rushing down the capital streets on one of which was my that day apartment. Needless to say, my parents strongly suggested I postponed my return trip.
Fortunately, Arizona welcomed me generously with both great weather and huge interest in my artwork. The next three and a half years I spent traversing the States and showing my art at various shows from Monterey, CA to Amelia Island in Florida. However, fun it was I eventually settled in Phoenix Arizona where I live now with my husband and two dogs.
We are eager nature lovers and camp as often as we can.
Spending time outdoors allowed us to see places that are otherwise hidden.
I think it teaches one to appreciate and respect the outdoors more and it is essential to get close to ‘the land’ now and then. We learned that you should always be I've prepared as a warm and sunny late summer day can turn into a vicious hail storm and suddenly drop the temperatures to freezing. Or that a cool Arizona morning hike into a canyon can turn into a hot and dry uphill later in the afternoon with close to no shade and abundant with rattlesnakes looking for lunch. But we also learned that if you wake up early enough you can spot a deer roaming in the soft pre-sunrise light. You can observe the pink rays crawling over the rolling hills and the morning fog relieving the valley.
With all that said, that campervan trip described above made me rethink the basics of meals and drinks consumption.
Traditionally, one would need to choose between the sturdiness of ceramic dinnerware (when your beans aren’t dripping on your knees off the soggy paper plate) and the convenience of the single-use products which are light, won’t break, and don’t require cleaning.
We have strong feelings about plastic use and its effect on nature as well as other single-use products out of paper.
Unfortunately, they can’t be recycled after absorbing the fats and juices from the food. And even those that are produced from the recycled materials are questionable solutions as our recycling technologies and logistics of distribution are far from perfect. But having a chance to be left with zero dinnerware at all the first day of a trip is not a great alternative and doesn’t help nature either.
Our idea was simple - get back to classics but make it better.
We chose to offer people old school enamel plates and mugs but make them look modern and attractive!
They combine the best features of both worlds: they can’t shatter, are sturdy but also light, they are reusable but you can throw them in a dishwasher after. They feel like home even when you are on the side of the mountain with no cell service. They also feel like an adventure even when you are simply sipping your usual coffee drink on the couch.