Vinegar and Brown Paper

Britain's Andy Poplar gives glassware a sense of humor with etched messages and mantras

by Elyssa Goodman


After working in advertising for over a decade, Britain-based designer Andy Poplar was burned out—he decided to quit his job and be a stay-at-home dad. Then one day, two years ago, he decided to teach himself how to etch glass, and his unique glassware called Vinegar and Brown Paper was born. Poplar, looking for a way to “mend his head” after his years in advertising, named the collection after the treatment Jack—from the children’s story “Jack and Jill,” which he knew verbatim since staying home with his daughter—gets after he falls down.

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Poplar etches witty, thoughtful and cheeky phrases that correspond to the item of glassware itself—an ink bottle declares “Stories Yet To Be Written,” a laboratory bottle reads “Acidic Wit,” a French Press offers “Damn Fine Coffee.” But since it’s all done by hand, by Poplar himself, he is also able to offer bespoke pieces: “Etching glass is almost secondary to the work itself because I use it as a way of transferring ideas onto things,” he says.

Poplar spends much of his time sourcing vintage glassware, and each item is thought about carefully until he alters it. He says, “They’ll live around the house for what could be months until one day suddenly the right idea pops into my head.” One such moment was when he etched a vintage barometer recently with “Don’t Let The Pressure Rule Your Life.” Poplar says, “It’s a really great moment when you get that creative rush.”

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Poplar’s daughter just started school full-time, so he’s now concentrating on growing Vinegar and Brown Paper, moving into a new house to have a bigger studio and even bringing on an employee. He currently ships internationally from his online store, and is stocked in a variety of stores in the UK and US, with hopes to expand. Vinegar and Brown Paper products start around $15.

Images by Andy Poplar