Sunday, March 18, 2012

First two Gems

Let the collection begin...

The basic idea of creating a selection of my own works comes and goes for many years. I know that many potters have the same dilemma: Should I offer my "best of" pieces to my customers or should I keep them for myself? I create teaware in order to serve to people during their tea-moments, so why to keep those best for myself? On the other hand it is important to have collection of older works at home. At least a smaller one.  As inspiration, as presentation, as motivation... By creating this "Ten Gems of Ten Kilns" open collection I would like to solve this dilemma.

What are the rules here? From every kiln I will fire, I am going to choose one Gem. One pieces of tea ware which I will find as the right one. As every kiln is mixture of faults and successes it is usually not easy to say what is the best. So as The Gem is going to be chosen the piece which will be somehow special and will properly enhance the selection. As I am not collector, I am not going to keep those "gems" forever. After ten kilns the selection will be complete but not closed. With eleventh kiln the one of The Ten will be replaced. The older piece of teaware will go to find its new master and its first opportunity to serve. The new Gem will be here with me and via pictures with you as a part of the selection. For more pictures of this selection please visit this picasa album. I am going to hold the whole project under new page of this bolg.

Gem number one: Frozen waterfall 

Unloaded from kiln on March 3. 2012. Teapot made from iron rich, stoneware clay and glazed inside and partly outside by Nuka glaze (wood ash, silica, feldspar). It can hold 230ml.

As I decided to start this project during February and haven't time to take pictures and post them till now, I already have the second Gem...we already have two kilns behind us.

Gem number two: Thaw pond
Unloaded from kiln on March 12. 2012. Double lidded tea caddy made from iron rich, stoneware clay and glazed with Nuka glaze (wood ash, silica, feldspar). It can hold 240ml. 

After the next firing you can expect a new gem to our necklace.

All comments here are more then welcome!

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tea Urchin's LaoManE - PavarotTEA

The reason way I enclose the Pavarotti to my testing notes here become quite obvious, when you take a look down, at the wrapper of the tea. This cake of summer leaves from famous LaoManE has reached me thanks to Eugene aka TeaUrchin before Xmas. I have enjoyed it during several occasions since than and now I have finally decided to take few pictures and share my notes with you. Incase reading of my tea-thoughts become boring then please enjoy Pavarotti's interpretation of Nessum Dorma

Cake's jacket makes me pleased every time I am about to open it. But the cake is not only nicely packed. Leaves are attracttive in their colors- Elfish gray and green, with flosses of silver and gold hairs.

Here are some Eugene's notes and answers about this cake:

Hi Petr,

I forgot to mention something important, the wrapper & neifei on the
summer Lao Man E incorrectly label this tea as "dan ke shu" or single
This bing is actually composed of material from 4 separate trees, as 1
tree did not yield enough material to make the factory's minimum order
for pressing
Each tree is from a different part of the mountain, so this bing
should be more correctly called "four peaks" summer LME hehe
The 4 trees selected produce sweeter tea, hence this bing does not
have the strong bitterness of Spring LME, which I described in my blog

So I also like this tea as it is "LME light" and very drinkable even
when mug steeping ("grandpa style" as marshaln is fond of saying)

All in all, quite surprising for a Lao Man E


 You even do not have to be too close to it to smell its strong, green puehr aroma. When I have tried it for a first time, there was strong pine resin, a little bit smoky odor. I liked this type of character, as it was more wooden pine then smokiness. But yes, it was probably from processing or storage in some fresh wooden box and not from leaves themselves. After few months of acclimation in my tea cabinet the pine disappeared. But never mind, the strong fresh-sheng aroma is still there - let' peel of a small chunk of it.

Here, brewing for my friend, I could get pictures without concern about camera...
With my small shibo it is quite easy to use higher then reasonable amount of leaves. And here we have leaves from Lao Man E so it can be dangerous! Fortunately this summer tea is not as full of the famous bitterness as its spring version. First infusion is light yellow in color but green, strong in taste. Eugene call it "light LME" but it is not Yiwu sugar at all! I smell there dandelions with their bitter and at ones heavy sweet aromas (our spring meadous are always full of them, so maybe I am just smelling our spring coming...)

Brews develop without surprises, which is usually a good sign. Mouth full of bitter-sweetness of live. Long lasting aftertaste Energy which makes my mind sharper. Focued on brewing the tea - the tea helps me to be focused.

Left over leaves are firm, juicy and nice looking. Seeing as this cake ruthlessly disappears, drain away, I know that I will never know how it taste like when aged. People say that clean, strong, full, bitter-sweet tastes, which this cake is full, are good base for aging... I am happy to like good young shengs as well as adolescent ones. And I love aged ones, of course. It helps to rid of fears about how my small collection of cakes will age. Remains curiosity and excitement.

Thank you for reading...