Our first 2012 China teas have arrived!

March 30, 2012

Yesterday the delivery man lugged 5 large boxes of tea into the store. When he asked us what was in them, and we said TEA he looked unimpressed. I didn’t have the heart to tell him how many more of these boxes he will be bringing us in the next few weeks.

So, now, finally, the long winter wait is over! The China spring tea harvest is beginning in earnest.

In Western China teas from Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces are coming to market quickly and in great abundance. Eastern China tea regions are beginning to buzz with energy as the demands of the harvest increase each day.

Our first teas to arrive again this year are from Yunnan. Our ever-popular, fresh, sweet-tasting,and slender Yunnan Spring Buds are back (did I mention reasonably priced ? ) and this year we will have a sweet, flavorsome modern-style Yunnan Bai Mudan white tea once again. This is one of the prettiest we have ever had, and something delicious for the fans of last year’s Yue Guang Bai. We have missed this tea so it is good to have it back again.We expect our first shipments of eastern China green teas about April 5th, or early the following week. All will be pre-Qing Ming teas (early harvest teas that have been picked before April 5th).

Watch for:

  • Longjing: Meijiawu Village, Xi Hu Region
  • Longjing: Xin Chang County
  • Fo Cha
  • early Fujian whites
  •  Gan Lu
  • Mengding Mountain Huang Ya (our stone-sweet, mineraly, sensational yellow tea from Sichuan)

And, our first shipments of 2012 1st Flush Darjeelings should be in the store by the tax day!

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Tokoname Teapots

We have been admirers of hand-crafted Japanese Tokoname teapots for years. In fact, we featured a stylish black Tokoname teapot on the cover of our book, The Story of Tea. We had so many queries about that teapot after our book came out that we contacted the tea maker and ordered a quantity of these gorgeous vessels to sell.

Now, four years later, that teapot is no longer being made. So we  re-kindled contacts we made in Tokoname during a brief visit there a few years back and placed an order for a special selection of stunning hand-made teapots. We asked to be sent photographs of works by master Tokoname potters and boy, did our man in Japan deliver! It was difficult for us to decide on which teapots to purchase, but we settled on a selection of stunning choices.

All of these teapots are unique, beautiful and desireable. Each vessel represents the vison of the clay artist, and we decided to mix it up in our selection of color, shape, texture and technique. We are thrilled to offer these functional works of art to our tea enthusiast customers and teawares collectors.


Tokoname has been a center of ceramic production since the 12th century and is, along with the kilns at Seto, Shigaraki, Echizen, Tanba,and Bizen, one of the oldest pottery production sites in Japan. Fortunately for those of us who are clay collectors, many pottery artisans in Tokoname have been honing their skills from a young age, and are now the clay masters. Their teapots are sought after worldwide for many desirable features, such as balance in pouring; skillfully tailored, pleasing shapes; thin-walled sides; highly polished, fine, smooth surfaces or lightly textured, matte finishes; elegant aesthetics, and complete, precise functionality.

Tokoname teapots are made in a variety of shapes and utilize many techniques that are the result of both hand skills and tool work. These teapots are categorized as yakishime – high-fired unglazed stoneware. Tokoname teapots are made from an iron-rich clay, and are very fine in texture. The clay allows the teapot and the tea to interact in a positive way. Many tea connoisseurs believe that unglazed clay sweetens the tea or adds a little minerality or backbone to the flavor of the tea – and those who use these teapots (and Yixing teapots for Chinese oolongs and Pu-erh, and hand-crafted Korean teapots, too ) know what I mean.

In Japan, these stylish teapots are used to steep Japanese green teas, which are long in length and have characteristic thin, needle-like leaves. Japanese green teas are quite different in size and appearance from Chinese green teas, and the best ones are steeped and drunk in small quantities. Accordingly, these teapots may be smaller than what many black tea drinkers may be accustomed to, but they are perfectly sized for steeping Japanese ( or Chinese or Korean ) green teas.

Most Tokoname teapots are kyusu-style teapots, which means that they are constructed with one handle on the side of the teapot. Occasionally western-style handles are placed on these teapots, and these are referred to as ushirode-kyusu-style. If the handle is placed so that it arcs above the opening of the teapot then that is a dobin-style teapot.

Unlike lifeless factory made teapots, these little hand-made teapots are works of art with personality. Each teapot reflects the vision of the artist who made it, and each is as functional as it is beautiful. Any one of these teapots will enhance your tea steeping and tea drinking pleasure.

We requested that all of our teapots have a clay infuser ( not stainless steel or mesh ) built into the spout of the teapot to catch the tea leaves before they exit the teapot. These infusers come in two styles: a flattish sasame strainer or ball-strainer, depending on the preference of the potter.

Please visit our website: www.teatrekker.com for more teapots and more details about these fantastic Tokoname teapots.

The most amazing packaging of all time !

All of our teapots arrived in perfect condition. The person who packed our order did a meticulous job and was  extraordinary careful. As we unpacked the boxes, we discovered that custom-fit cardboard ‘chests’ had been constructed for each grouping of 4-6 teapots. Each ‘chest’ was custom-sized and also lined with bubble wrap. All in all, the outer boxes contained 6 of these ‘chests.’  And each teapot was packed in a cardboard box of paulowina wood box. (This is in direct opposition to  shipments of Chinese ceramics, in which each piece is wrapped in bubble wrap and all are tossed into a previously used box.  I am sure a dose of ‘hope for the best’ goes in there, too!).

I so appreciate it when special items are carefully wrapped, and when the person packing and handling them treats them with the respect that they deserve.

2011 Christmas Message from the ‘Queen’

Merry Christmas 2011 to all our Cooks Shop Here family of friends and customers.

Please watch as Monkey, a knitted woollen doll and the brand-mascot of PG Tips tea, dressed in regal attire, gets properly sozzled in a tongue-in-cheek take on the Queen’s Christmas speech. Watch was happens as ‘she’ reflects on the highlights of the ‘year gone by.’  This video features only Monkey – sidekick Al is mentioned at the end only, but appears in the portrait at the beginning of the video.  We watch this video whenever we need a lift (we drink tea, too, when we need a lift) and always break out in peels of laughter each and every time. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

This now iconic PG Tips ad scooped 2 Gold Awards for Unilever Brands at the British Television Advertising Awards in 2008.

The PG Tips chimps are among the most beloved ad icons in the UK, with campaigns running 20 years deep, give or take a little.

Why Chimps ?

In 1956 PG Tips debuted television commercials featuring live chimpanzees  dressed up in clothes and wigs to look like humans and carrying on in various humorous sketches. But the activity was ultimately about delighting in the satisfying taste of PG Tips tea. The first of these commercials aired on the UK’s newly launched commercial TV station on Christmas Day 1956.

The ads, inspired by the chimps’ tea parties held at London Zoo in the 1950s, propelled PG Tips to become the most loved tea in Britain.

In the space of only two years since the first advert was aired PG Tips moved from fourth in the ratings to top of the heap in tea popularity.

But after animal welfare campaigners successfully lobbied against the ads, the ads stopped in 2002 and have not been aired since. ( If you squander enough time on You Tube you can find several of them. The ad showing the chimps moving a piano downstairs has been shown on British television more times than any other advertisement over 2,000 screenings).

Why Monkey?

Since 2008, a new series of ads with a sock monkey – Monkey ( mon-keh) – and his sidekick Al ( comedian Johnny Vegas ) have replaced the old chimp ads.

Monkey is an adorable lad and Al is, well, Al. By far, my favorite ad is the message of Christmas Cheer.

About PG Tips Tea

Arthur Brooke founded Brooke Bond Tea Company in 1869, starting with a single tea shop. He was the son of a tea dealer, Charles Brooke, and as a child was allowed to clamber up and ride in the wheelbarrow along with packets of tea that were being delivered to homes in Ashton-under-Lyme, England.

By the 1890’s, Arthur Brooke has several tea shops in various locations. He expanded into the wholesale tea market and gained more notice for his brand by delivered his tea all over England in distinctive black vans. The Brooke Bond brand became synonymous with tea throughout the United Kingdom and his company introduced a second brand in 1930 — PG Tips.

I wish that PG Tips would include sock monkeys in special packs of the tea in the USA!
To see what Monkey is up to these days, please visit the PR Tips website: http://www.pgtips.co.uk/

Korean Pottery by Park Jong IL

When we visited Korea last year we were impressed by the beauty of the traditional hand-crafted teawares that we saw. We had the good fortune to meet several of Korea’s notable potters and we learned a great deal about the aesthetics of Korean teawares from each of them.

Korea has a very ancient tradition of pottery production, and today the tradition of teawares is continued by many fine potters who specialize in functional and uniquely Korean tea bowls, teapots and tea cups.

The Korean teawares style is simple and humble, quietly elegant and natural in feeling. The ideal is to express beauty through pleasing shapes, soft, warm glazes and an overall natural feeling. In addition to aesthetic concerns, Korean potters understand that teawares must showcase the tea, and be a pleasurable vessel for the person making or drinking the tea. Teawares should not be a vehicle for showing off ostentatious glazes or creative hand-crafting techniques.

Korean potters are also concerned that their tea bowls and tea cups feel good in the hand and are comfortable to hold, and that each piece has a stable foot ring that allows the bowl or cup to sit securely on a table. A well-formed lip is important, too, for pleasurable tea drinking. Most Korean pottery is wood fired, which adds a rustic elegance to the works and respects the fact that nature always has a hand in the outcome of the pottery fired in the kiln.

It is difficult to find handmade Korean pottery in the USA, so we are thrilled to have a selection of teapots and teacups from Korean artist Park Jong Il.

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Park Jong Il lives a humble and spiritual life in the mountains. His studio and kiln are located next to his house, and he fires his pottery with wood that he cuts in the forest surrounding his house in a traditional orumgama – a chambered climbing kiln.

Park Jong Il is a remarkable artist who believes that there is a spiritual connection with the earth, the clay and the tea that will be steeped and drunk from his bowls, cups and teapots. His pottery reflects the simple humble nature of Korea pottery and also the talent and craft of a master artisan.

To read more about Korean potters and their pottery, please visit our post on this blog from June 21st, 2010.

To purchase pottery by Park Jong Il, please visit our website: http://www.cooksshophere.com/products/tea/tea-necessities/Teapots.htm

Photographs of Park Jong Il courtesy of Arthur Park – http://dawan-chawan-chassabal.blogspot.com/

A Masterful Japanese Tamba Teapot

This is a photo of my favorite Japanese teapot – a gruesome beauty crafted by Tamba artist Ken Nagai. I discovered this teapot several years ago on the Japanese ceramics website www.2000cranes.com which is owned by our friend and ceramics expert Brian Nolan. It was love at first sight for me, and I contacted Brian immediately.

Fortunately, he still had the pot so it quickly became mine. When it arrived from Japan, I tore the box open and wrestled with the layers of wrapping around each piece. Once I unearthed the teapot it was even more exceptional than I had hoped. It was rustic, muscular and lean: nothing fluffy here.

I ran my hands over it, feeling the spots and bumps of it’s gritty, textured surface. I loved it for what it was: a rustic, flame-licked pot that proudly wore the subtle flashes of grey-blue and red-brown color that it had earned while being birthed during an intense night in a hotter-than-hot wood burning kiln.

To me, this pot was a rare beauty made by an artist with talent and vision who truly understands the dynamic forces of heat, smoke and fire at work inside his kiln. A lesser hand might have turned this teapot into something gloomy or a piece that could be discounted as a foolish dalliance. But instead, Nagai-san hit a brilliant chord in the execution of this pot. Because, underneath the brooding and somber nature of this teapot lies a sophisticated and intentional design that gives the pot radiance and soul.

I came to recognize that the clay overskirt which covers the body of the teapot ( and obscures the bottom of the teapot in the photo ) mimics one of the historic designs of Japanese tetsubin, large cast iron water kettles. ( Today, smaller versions of these kettles are enamel-lined and sold as teapots ). In spirit, this teapot is a precious equilibria between two essential yet contrasting elements of Japanese tea preparation materials: pottery ( earth ) and cast iron ( metal ) wares.

But the story of this teapot does not end there. In advance of our trip to Japan last spring we talked with Brian about his pottery and the talented artists he represents. He offered to take us to Tamba and meet Ken Nagai. Of course we were thrilled.

We left Kyoto for Hyogo Prefecture and the area surrounding the village of Tachikui where the kilns of the Tamba potters are located. Tamba is referred to as one of the Old Six Kilns of Japan, meaning that it is a very historic and significant area of regional pottery production that dates back to medieval Japan. Like its other historic brethren – Seto, Tokonome, Shigaraki, Bizen and Echizen – the characeristic appearance of Tamba pottery is determined by the composition of the iron-rich local clay which produces red-brown to blue-grey flushes of color, the shape and style of kiln and firing techniques used, and the overall, traditional aesthetic of the pottery. Tamba pottery is dark in color with an iron-like hardness and simple, utilitarian aesthetic. These pieces are marvelously earthy in feeling and organic in appearance. Like most Tamba wares, Nagai-san’s pieces are not glazed and the finish and texture of the pots is given to each piece by the kiln.

Nagai-san’s pieces have textural surfaces that play with the light. Hold one this way or that way and subtle colorations on the surface will reveal. Nagai-san fires his pottery in a small noboringama or climbing kiln. This type of kiln is wood-fired and can create quite dramatic effects on the pottery depending on where the pots are placed in the kiln, the type of wood used, and other magical variables.

When we arrived, Nagai-san was just opening his kiln. The once red-hot temperature of the kiln had cooled down so that the pots could be removed safely. We were told that all of these new pieces had been made for an upcoming exhibition of Nagai-san’s pottery at an art gallery. Reading between the lines of this statement, I knew that Brian was telling us that no pieces would be available for us to purchase. Althought we were initially disappointed by this, we knew that the invitation to the kiln opening and the opportunity to meet this admired artist and learn more about his craft was the real treasure. So we concentrated and entered the moment.

It was exciting for the three of us to watch Nagai-san remove the bricks that had sealed up the kiln. He peaked inside with a light as it was clear that he too, was anxious to see how successful his firing had been. He seemed pleased with what he saw. Brian explained to us that potters who fire with wood commonly lose some pieces in the kiln from damage that is inflicted by sticks of wood that are pushed into the kiln ( via slits in the wall of the kiln ) during the firing. Bits of burning wood can also ‘pop,’ causing damage to delicate pieces.

 

 

 

When the opening was complete, we peered into the kiln and this is what we saw. To us it  looked as though the forces of nature had wreaked havoc inside the kiln. In some ways that is exactly what happens during a wood-buring fire. But we were assured that all was fine, and that the ash and bits of wood debris covering the pottery was normal and expected.

Teapots came out, as did cups, bowls, plates and more teapots. Little fat teapots and larger teapots that had the shape of ripe summer melons. None of the teapots were like the one we had at home, but these pots also projected the stoic, austere Nagai-san style and his Tamba roots.

After weeks of throwing and building and a week of firing and cooling, Nagai-san still had work to do to get his pots ready to show. It would take him most of the evening and next morning to empty the kiln, after which he had a scant 36 hours to clean, burnish and primp every piece.  Once we returned home, we heard that the exhibition was a great success and that Nagai-san had sold most of his pieces.

To see more of Ken Nagai’s work and images from his 2010 Osaka Exhibition, or to purchase a teapot, please visit Brian’s website: www.2000cranes.com

Click here to see images of classic overskirted tetsubins from a traditional Japanese craft company: www.suzukimorihisa.com. Under the Works header, click on the Teakettles header. The 2nd teakettle pictured in the top and bottom rows have the overskirted design.

Click here to see our selection of tetsubin teapots: www.teatrekker.com/teawares/teapots.htm

It’s Cherry Blossom Time in Japan

To celebrate Mother Nature’s spectacular once-a-year cherry blossom ( sakura ) season we welcome the return of our Japanese Sencha Sakura tea. This sweetly perfumed tea is a delicious and satisfying blend of high-quality Japanese Sencha from Shizuoka Prefecture combined with tiny pink dried sakura blossoms.

In step with the fleeting nature of cherry blossoms, our Sencha Sakura tea cheers the transition from one year’s season to the next. Blended only once each year from carefully reserved tea leaves and dried sakura blossoms collected during the previous year’s harvest, the subtle fragrance of these tiny pink cherry blossoms yields a fragrant and alluring cup that is a perfect harbinger of the new season: fresh, vibrant and charmingly sweet.

Springtime in your teacup, sakura-style! Click here to view our Sencha Sakura. http://www.teatrekker.com/shop/sencha-sakura/

Cherry blossoms ( sakura ) are beloved in Japan, and hanami ( flower viewing ) pays homage to the Japanese tradition of appreciating the delicate beauty of flowers. During sakura season families and friends – and people of all ages – venture outdoors to celebrate the return of spring and more specifically, behold the magnificent but fleeting show of cherry blossoms that occurs across many regions in Japan. Hanami has held an annual place of importance for Japanese people since the 8th century in Japan.

Over the course of one month -from late March to May- cherry trees blossom into magnificent displays of pastel color ranging from dark pink to pale, delicate pink, to white-white, and ivory-toned white. Parks and walkways along river banks are especially lovely this time of year. Groups of cherry blossom ‘peepers’ travel in groups from one site to another, knotching as many viewings under their belts as possible.

We sincerely pray that this seasonal time of beauty and natural wonder will help to raise the national spirit in Japan and begin the healing from the devastating events brought on by the recent earthquake and tsunami. The situation in Japan is almost too much to contemplate, but we like to think that just as the delicate sakura blossoms return each spring, so too will the Japanese people will re-emerge from this challenge, strong, determined and with spirit intact.

Sakura season begins in March in southern Japan. The best viewing regions and locations are charted and reported by the media as the spring season progresses into northern Japan.

Below is a chart of approximate bloom time which is from the website http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2011.html. Regions in southern and central Japan that have begun to report sightings of cherry blossoms are listed with a pink blossom and marked with the seasonal starting date.

Location Opening Estimated Best Viewing  
Tokyo Opened March 28 April 5 to 13
Kyoto Opened March 28 April 6 to 14
Kagoshima Opened March 23 April 1 to 11
Kumamoto Opened March 21 March 30 to April 10
Fukuoka Opened March 22 April 2 to 11
Hiroshima Opened April 1 April 6 to 13
Nara Opened March 31 April 7 to 14
Osaka Opened March 31 April 6 to 14
Nagoya Opened March 27 April 6 to 13
Yokohama Opened March 30 April 7 to 14
Kanazawa Opened April 7 April 11 to 19
Matsumoto April 11 April 16 to 23
Sendai April 13 April 17 to 24
Kakunodate April 27 May 2 to 9
Hirosaki April 25 April 29 to May 6
Hakodate April 29 May 3 to 10
Sapporo May 3 May 6 to 13

Tea Ceramics Exhibition: Richard Milgrim

Those of us within striking distance of Boston ( and who are looking for something tea-related or ceramics-related to do on a winter’s day ) are in for a treat this month. From January 15th until February 14th the Pucker Gallery at 171 Newbury Street in Boston is featuring the inagural exhibition of the tea ceramics of Richard Milgrim. The opening reception is scheduled for January 15th and from 3 – 6 pm the artist will be in attendance.

Richard Milgrim is an American potter fully imbued in the Japanese tradition of ceramic tea wares (chato) and Chado, The Way of Tea. (Chado is a synthesis of numerous philosophies and arts which culminate into a unique method of preparing and drinking matcha (powdered green tea) known as Chanoyu, or the Japanese tea ceremony. Cultivated and nourished by the Japanese since the 1500s, the Way of Tea is a discipline which transforms simple daily activities into the fine art of life. )

He is an exceptional artist whose work reflects what he has learned and absorbed from his time studying with four different Japanese master potters. Early in his career, Richard was endorsed by Dr. Sen Soshitsu XV, who was at that time the Grand Master and Head of the Urasenke School of Tea. Dr. Sen was so impressed with Richard’s interest in Japanese tea and the tea arts, his potter’s skills and knowledge of the intricacies of Japanese tea ceramics traditions that his endorsement opened the door for a young Richard to meet and work with many famed Japanese potters.

As a result, Richard studied with Iwabuchi Shigeya, a specialist in Kyoto ceramics; Tahara Tobei, a 12-th generation master of the Korean-inspired Hagi tradition; Fujiwara Yu, a famed maker of wood-fired Bizen ware (who was later named a Living National Treasure), and Kato Koemon, a prominent potter of Shino and Oribe wares in the Mino tradition.

Since 1979, Richard has worked in Japan as a potter specializing in tea ceramics, first under known masters and then as a master himself. These extraordinary opportunities have put Richard in the unique position of being an American with a breadth of understanding and familiarity with Japanese ceramics that no other American potter possesses.

Richard approaches tea ceramics as an insider and his work reflects the complete degree to which he has immersed himself in understanding all the essential aspects of what is required of his pieces to work successfully in a Chanoyu setting: the size, proper balance, weight, form, and above all, functionality. It is because of his high level of accomplishment and because he lives a life dedicated to tea and tea ceramics that his best customers are among the most discriminating tea practioners and ceramics collectors in Japan.

Those familiar with Japanese tea ceramics for Chanoyu know that the pieces are usually large, and commanding in presence. Richard’s work is thusly so, but my eye finds a softness in his work rather than an aloofness or awkwardness. This welcoming quality begs the onlooker to admire and contemplate each piece individually as well as to imagine how well the piece will fit in to the context of the other materials chosen for inclusion in a particular tea ceremony. (Ceramics represent only one type of material used for Chanoyu. Other materials to be considered when planning a particular toriawase ( the selection of a combination of various tea utensils and objects chosen for a particular tea gathering ) are the iron tea kettle; chasen or bamboo whisk; chashaku or bamboo tea scoop; lacquer incense burner; woven bamboo flower container; hanging brush-painted calligraphy scroll. )

But above all else, these ceramics are appealing. I immediately want to hold them, touch their sculpted and slightly uneven surfaces, and to feel the cool smoothness or slight roughness of the glaze that drapes each piece of clay for just the right effect. The beauty of Richard’s work goes beyond their intended use for tea and will be of interest to ceramics enthusiasts in general.

Richard maintains two studios, one in MA ( Konko-Gama ) and one in Kyoto, Japan ( Richado-Gama.) The greatest concentration of his work is produced in Japan, but in each of his kilns Richard uses local clays and glazes that have been formulated for those clays. Hence, his American work and his Japanese works bear a distinct difference from one another. But they all exude the Richard Milgrim style and flair, making the purchasing decision even more difficult for collectors of tea ceramics or for Chanoyu practitioners seeking to add a new piece to their carefully chosen and valued collection of teawares.

Richard is a friend and a huge talent. I urge tea lovers and ceramics collectors to attend his inagural gallery exhibition. It will be a wonderful opportunity to view a full compliment of Richard’s work, and to see how his Western and Japanese sensibilities interplay to create Japanese tea ceramics that pay homage to the past but bring the tradition forward via pieces that both function flawlessly while effortlessly pleasing the eye.

We had the pleasure of meeting with Richard on several occasions in the past two years, including on his turf in Kyoto, Japan. It was a thrill for us to spend time in Japan with Richard and his wife, Mari, who is a master tea practitioner in the Urasenke Foundation school of Chado or Way of Tea. She is involved with both the Kyoto and Boston Chapter of Urasenke. ( The Urasenke Foundation, based in Kyoto, Japan, through diligent and dynamic efforts has become the largest school of Chado both in Japan and around the world. They have branch schools in many parts of the world, including the USA. Urasenke spreads international appreciation of Chado, through Chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony, which is based on tenets established by the tea master Sen Rikyu (1522-1591 ) and continued by successive heads of the Sen family every generation since. )

Mari and Richard lead what I call a ‘fairy-tale’ life. They are a joyful couple and each is completely devoted to separate aspects of tea culture and Chado; he to ceramics and she to teaching the graceful art of Chanoyu. ( Chanoyu is based on tea master Sen Rikyu’s seven principals: Make a delicious bowl of tea; lay charcoal so that the water boils; provide a sense of warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer; arrange flowers as they are in a field; be ready ahead of time; be prepared in case it should rain; and with whom you find yourself give every consideration without fuss. Practicing these seemingly simply activities one soon discovers how challenging it is to carry them out without fail. The Way of Tea concerns the creation of the proper setting for that moment of enjoyment of a perfect bowl of tea. Everything that goes into that serving of tea, from all of the tea utensils to the quality of the air and the space where it is served, becomes a part of its flavor.’ )

As a couple and as artists they complement one another beautifully, and spend much of the year in Kyoto: the central place where the tea arts are taught and practiced and tea is considered an important aspect of life. Attending a tea cermony with Mari and Richard at a private temple was a privilege and joy to experience. We had a little glimpse into their life in Japan, enough to realize how very unique their world is. With a several hundred year old tea tradition behind them, they have dedicated their lives to the gentile Kyoto world of tea, tea ceramics, kimonos, traditions, protocol, reverence and etiquette.

You can now have a glimpse into Richard’s world by viewing his work on display at the Pucker Gallery. Come and let him tell you about the pieces. What will one see here ? Many delightful objects and vessels essential to Chanoyu. Japanese tea fanciers and collectors of Japanese ceramics are of course familiar with the chawan, the oversized tea bowl that is most central to the shared experience or direct connection between the host and the guest in a tea ceremony.

But tea practitioners need many other ceramic tea utensils, too, so one will see several examples of the lidded ceramic tea caddie or chaire which holds the koicha or thick tea ( a very particular type of matcha used at certain formal tea ceremonies); the mizusashi, or lidded container for the freshwater; the hanaire or flower vase; and various sized shallow serving bowls as well as some sake cups, sake bottles and tea cups that could be used during kaiseki, the multi-course meal with accompanies the serving of 2 types of tea in the most formal tea ceremony called a chaji. 

Of course, any of these tea utensils could also be freely used outside the formal tea setting for everyday use.

Surpassing Boundaries:

Surpassing Boundaries:
Richard Milgrim’s
Ceramics for Tea and Beyond
January 15th – February 14th

Pucker Gallery
171 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116
616-267-9473