Happy New Year! - Holiday Tea and the White Elephant Exchange

2010 has passed. I feel like that statement should coincide with advertisements for hover cars or time shares on Mars. I had a great year with many changes that have not fully sunk in yet. Part of my great fortune has been meeting the amazing group of people that work at the Pottery Workshop Shanghai. 

We recently got together for a holiday party to celebrate the end of the year. We had an international potluck with sushi, chicken satay, and tasty home-made chicken wings. One of our studio renters performed a tea ceremony for all those in attendance. I have read many accounts of the ceremony but I had never participated until the party. It was great to see how a ceremony known for its quiet focus could be translated to a group of 20 people. We each took turns as Premala took us through the process of whisking the Matcha (powdered green tea), turning the bowl three times, and drinking the mixture in three quick sips. (For a better explanation of the ceremony click here or here) I appreciated Premala's willingness to teach us about the ceremony and its place in ceramic history.

The group picture above is with our White Elephant gifts. For those not familiar with this system of gift giving it is based on the idea that you can "steal" a gift from someone else at the party. At the party every person chose one pot out of our holiday sale based on a number they drew from a lottery. During the White Elephant, number two can take number one's gift, number three can take both one and two's gifts, and so on. With this system its best to be the final one to draw so you can pick from the largest group of objects. Once we got going it was fun to watch each persons excitement as they picked their pot. The best part was watching the early participants try to hide their pots so that no one could take them. We had a great time with lots of laughs. In the picture above we have students from China, Ireland, England, Denmark, Japan, Turkey, Canada and the US. One of my plans for our new studio space is to hang a small flag from every country where our students are from.

2011 will be a great year for the Pottery Workshop Shanghai. We will be moving to a newly remodeled studio this week. Ill post pictures of the new space as soon as we are in. Ill be traveling a large amount in the next few months and I look forward to posting more about that also. Happy New Year to everyone! Please come visit, China is fantastic.

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