Tuesday, May 6, 2014
CHINESE HERBALIST TEA VESSEL
Li Shizhen Chinese Tea Vessels
Ever wonder how artists come up with a new series? My friends and customers always ask me how I continue to imagine new ideas for my work. I'm sure it's different for all artists, but for me, it usually has to do with someone I've met or something I've seen. For my new Ancient Chinese Herbalists Tea Vessel series, it started with a visit from an extraordinary man who visited the Farmer's market where I show my work each week. He was dressed in casual loose clothing but his hat was definitely authentic Chinese. It looked to be leather with ties coming down on each side surrounding his beard which ended with a pointy tip, just like the revered Chinese Herbalists you have read about.
Vessel Number 1 Front
He had been on my mind for a few days and then Angie, one of my special customers, asked me if I could make a masculine tea vessel for a male friend of hers. Click. The light bulb went on and flashes of venerable Chinese herbalists filled my mind. I could immediately see them as bas-reliefs on my tea vessels.
Vessel number 1 Lid-Character on Lid Means Mindfulness in Chinese
I decided to honour Li Shizhen as the first herbalist in the series and I made two different types of vessels so that I could offer Angie the first choice. After years of research, in which he studied and classified over 800 different herbs, Li wrote his most famous work which was the Compendium of Materia Medica. He is thought of as the most superior naturalist of China. He also is noted as finding the cure for a rare disease called “children's worm addiction.” For those of you who have an interest, It might be worth the effort to google more information about his amazing life.
Vessel Number 1 Back
I created Li Shizhen tea vessel number 1 by using stoneware clay which was high fired using a lead proof glaze which is a textured chocolate. He is 6 1/2” wide x 6” high and 4” deep and holds approx 2 cups of tea. Vessel number 2 is the one that Angie chose and is 6” wide x 5 ½ “ high and 4” deep and also holds approx 2 cups of tea. I looked up the characters for mindfulness and tea and etched them onto the lid, handle and back. The glaze is a mustard glaze with brown overlays. Vessel number 1 is priced at $76. Just e-mail me if you would like to purchase vessel number one and we can go from there. I take paypal or checks. Thanks so much!
Vessel Number 2 Front
To brew tea:
The best way to brew tea for vessel is to place cold water in another microwavable container. Heat water and then pour into vessel in which either tea bags or a tea strainer or tea ball has been placed. Place lid back on and allow to steep for 5 minutes or so. Serve.
Vessel Number 2 Lid-Character on Lid Means Mindfullness
Care of Tea Vessel:
Because of the various embellishments placed into the vessel, it is best not to place in dishwasher or microwave but instead use the tea vessel to steep and serve. I have used lead free glaze on the interior of each pot so that it is safe to drink the tea and after finishing, running hot water inside the pot releasing any tea having lodged there is all that is needed to keep sanitary.
Thanks everyone for viewing and especially you Angie for igniting the spark.
Vessel Number 2 Back