Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kenneth Rexroth, Chinese and Japanese Poems

Living a tea life don't just make me more calm and patient to others, it also affects my works and art directions.

If I am not into Tea or Qingbai Ware from the Sung/Yuan periods, Chinese calligraphy nor Japanese precious stones inlay lacquer box... perhaps I will never been inspired enough to do these design. A Chu Kuang-Hsi or Oshikochi No Mitsun's poems will likely be interpret by ones mind very differently.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Spring Additions Part 2

What are the odds of finding two teapots from the same studio? And what are the chance to have them reunion from thousands of miles away, and years apart? Faith plays a funning role in my tea life, it will only be more exciting from this point on.

A big brother? Or a little brother I'd found yesterday at the Tea Gallery. The same style, made and fired level pot.... could it even be the same artist as my new Taiwanese Zhuni? What a coincidence. But do I need another one.....

If you are a teachat chatters, as I am a faithful follower. I just made a friend, whom she was a descendant of one of my favorite Qing/Republic Yixing artist. "By Faith, Not by Quest" is my tea virtues.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

New Spring Additions Part 1

Over the past 2 weeks, I finally had some time to fix up my tea table leakage. I bought 2 burlwood root tables almost 12 years ago. One functions nicely in the studio, but the other one leaks at the drainage area. After many previous attempts including drilling and filling, nothing really worked and I finally decided to seal the whole thing with 5 layers of Polyurethane.

To celebrate the soft launch, I pulled out my 90's Taiwanese made Mansheng Zhuni pot. This is one of the classic pear shaped Manshengs, using new zhuni. Although it is not an antique, the feel and style of it creates a very nostalgic moment. Except the seal inside the pot, it puzzled me... Why would the maker/factory be so insensitive to try to perfect an old look, than kind of putting a barcode on it at the end?

Anyhow, I tried 3 kinds of teas to test the pot:
1. Old Bush high elevation DC 2004.
2. Nannou 2004 single estate old bushes.
3. Cooked loose 4th grade pu from NY-Chinatown.

They all came out wonderful! It softened the first 2 body and mellowed down the edges. Then it took away the wet storage of the loose cook. Adding to my tea table is holding on, I could not ask for more.... to be continued.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Proper Tea Cup

I remember holding a white tea cup and seeing the dried dark reddish tea stain at the bottom of it. It was syrupy and sweet floral, sticky to the touch with some crumbled tea leaves sprinkled around. I still can remember the smell of the tea room, strong truffle's sweetness with tobacco and leather, it was wonderful and comforting. I was around 6, and the small white tea cup didn't seem so tiny at that time. It cupped nicely from my chin to my nose, creating a little safe mask.

Small tea cup distinguishes what level of tea you are drinking, it is not for quenching the thirst, but for feeding the senses. Most Western world would consider them as little toys or for decoration purposes only, and prefer a large cuppa. Through the eyes of a seasoned Chinese tea drinker, it might be the only vessel to have direct contact from the tea leave to the body.

The more I experience the shapes and materials of the tea cup, the more variables there are to the equation for a perfect cuppa.... or perhaps there is no perfect cup, or perfect tea? As long as there are good companies to share the journey, what nutty gritty do we need to concern, and fight over about.
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