In the Studio: Tea Three Ways

In the midst of my Yixing posts I thought it would be nice to post a few images of the tea related forms I've been making. I'm approaching tea from three distinct perspectives- a southern American perspective making pitchers/tumblers for sweet iced tea, a British perspective making teapots with cups/saucers for hot black tea, and a Chinese perspective making teapots with teacups for green tea. I want to eventually develop these forms into a full exhibition focusing on tea history in the different cultures.

The difference in scale with the pots really jumped out at me when I put one of the green tea pots beside the pitcher. It is definitely the runt of the litter. It looks small but one of my friends actually told me today that it's still too big. Needs to be smaller so the tea can cool faster. This goes along with the taste preference for green teas to steep for a very short time. Until moving to China I had no idea how different green tea was from the black tea that I knew. Growing up in Virginia brewing tea meant hanging four bags of Lipton over the side of the pitcher until the water cooled. For green tea steeping this long would taste pretty bad. Green tea works better as a subtle flavor. Think about the last time you tasted artificial green tea flavor like green tea ice cream. It just doesn't work as a fake flavor because it looses its subtlety in chemical replication. Its comes across heavy handed and kinda gross.

On the decoration front I like where the pattern is going on the British style dogwood teapot. I'm working an over/under switch with the fence motif. The handle side has the decoration overlap the fence and the handle making a camouflage affect. The spout side goes underneath the fence making for a subtle shift. I just finished the last batch of pots for the next few weeks but I already want to use the over/under on my next batch of plates. Ill be glazing tomorrow night and then the photographing/packing process starts. 

These will all go to the my show "Between the Fence Posts" at the Charlie Cummings Gallery. It will be posted in late November on www.claylink.com. Looking forward to hearing what you guys think about this body of work when it goes online.

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