My Tea Set: A Peek into Staffordshire Potteries

Earlier this year a friend gave me this very pretty tea set. Only it's not actually a "set." Intriguingly, it's a group of china pieces with nearly identical pansy paintings—made by different companies. cup and saucer: Duchess, est. 1888, fine bone china, made in England (crown logo) teapot: Arthur Wood & Son, Staffordshire, England, est. … Continue reading My Tea Set: A Peek into Staffordshire Potteries

Pottery and Tea in Shigaraki, Japan

Wide-eyed animal pottery (whether cute or sorta creepy is up to you) and ancient kilns and lush tea gardens? You are now in Japan's Shigaraki region! We continue to follow along with Lisa, owner of TeaHaus and Eat More Tea, on her recent tour of Japan's tea industry. Having looked at the Tsuchiyama tea garden … Continue reading Pottery and Tea in Shigaraki, Japan

Enjoying Tea at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs

If you live in Ann Arbor, you probably fall into one of two camps: the fully-embrace-love-love-love the Art Fairs or the avoid-it-at-all-costs. The latter is rather more difficult to do because this isn't just an art fair: it's a four-day marathon of four art fairs that spread amoeba-like across our city, consuming everything in their … Continue reading Enjoying Tea at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs

From Drainpipes to Teacups, and the Making of “Royal” Companies

With a royal wedding just around the corner, time to break out the royal tea ware—as in Royal Chelsea, Royal Chintz, and Royal Doulton! So how royal are these? Well, although my Royal Doulton teacup and saucer are a fairly recent 1973 according to the makers mark, the Doulton name goes back two hundred years, with … Continue reading From Drainpipes to Teacups, and the Making of “Royal” Companies

A Rare, and Royal, Teapot

With the upcoming nuptials in England, there's been much speculation about wedding attire and appropriate gifts. Since my invitation was clearly lost in the mail, it seems that the closest I will ever be to the Queen of England is, well, an ocean away. But I did see the twin of a teapot that she … Continue reading A Rare, and Royal, Teapot

How to Brew Oolong Teas

Early in China's Qing Dynasty (1644–1911), Fujian tea producers began a new tea process, resulting in wulong—or oolong—teas. For these, three to four tea leaves are plucked along with the buds. These more mature leaves are able to stand up to the extensive processing steps that they undergo (see previous post).During this processing, the leaves are … Continue reading How to Brew Oolong Teas

Loose Leaf Tea in an Art Museum Exhibit

Loose leaf tea in an art museum? Unexpected perhaps, but tea—along with its ware and ceremony—has been integral to Western culture for hundreds of years and to Asian culture for thousands! Currently, TeaHaus loose leaf tea is part of an ongoing exhibit, Elegance from the East: New Insights into Old Porcelain, at the Indianapolis Museum of … Continue reading Loose Leaf Tea in an Art Museum Exhibit

The Valuable Tea Protected the Porcelain after This Ship Sank in 1752

If you were living in the 1700s and had to transport porcelain pieces by ship—without bubble wrap or cardboard boxes or styrofoam peanuts—you had to figure out a way to pack in as much as you could and minimize breakage. Stackable Solution The Dutch East India Company found the answer partly in "couple ware," inexpensive … Continue reading The Valuable Tea Protected the Porcelain after This Ship Sank in 1752

“Modern” Teapots in a 1700s’ Shipwreck

In early 1700s, an overloaded Chinese junk caught fire and sank. Like the ship lost in 1644 (see previous post), this was really bad news for exporter and importer alike! The vessel had picked up its cargo from the porcelain factories of Canton and was en route to Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East … Continue reading “Modern” Teapots in a 1700s’ Shipwreck

A 1644 Shipwreck and Its Teapots

Sometime around 1644, bad news reached Chinese exporters and Dutch importers. A Chinese junk—laden with porcelain—was lost in the South China Sea. This was a huge loss! In these early years of porcelain trade between East and West, fine porcelain was costly, turnaround time was measured in years, and demand in the West was growing. … Continue reading A 1644 Shipwreck and Its Teapots