Monday, March 7, 2011

While visiting Kingston's up and coming tearoom, I found he had a tree-stump Yixing teapot that resembled mine. I couldn't pass up this learning experience so I brought my teapot over on my next visit and let Kingston compare the two (above picture: mine is on the right). Pots like this can be made from a mold but what sets one from the other is the artist's eye for sharpening and adding details to the final product.

Winnie also has a tree-stump teapot. We picked up ours together in Hong Kong. There are elements to both our teapots that we find in Kingston's version. I asked Kingston for his first impressions. He said mine was nicer because of the greater amount of detail and the way those details were executed. While the color of the clay was the same, Kingston noticed a subtle, textural difference. It's one I have had trouble trying to catch on camera. The contrast isn't great enough but Kingston felt the difference with his hands. My clay was superior so the teapot felt smoother and more consistent throughout.

Kingston's teapot is on the left and you can see the handle while resembling a a young branch is nice but it's not as interesting as the aged and cracked wood effect of my teapot's handle. This detail adds a greater value for collectors who like this style. So long as it's not overwrought, intricate flourishes are expected with this kind of organic look.

Winnie's teapot is on the foreground and you can see just how clean and sharp its edges are compared to the softer contours of the Kingston pot. No major differences between all three pots but the sum of those little things add up to significant dollars.

  None of the teapots shown have been used but one of the joys of owning this style of pot is brewing with it and allowing a natural patina to develop. Because of all the tree knots and floral details, the changes in color saturation will be more pronounced between the smooth and rough areas. The tea staining adds another layer to the intricate look.
This was my first time using the tree-stump pot. Because it's quite small and holds only 60cc, I chose a tightly rolled tikwanyin. I wanted to enhance the richness of the red clay so I used our "Classic Roast" Iron Bodhisattva. It's deep, burgundy hue is a natural complement to the clay.
It's finally time to "feed" the teapot.

 
One cup for me, and one for the teapot.

 
 The submerged bottom of the teapot showed me a preview of the rich color I can eventually attain the more I use it. All those carefully carved out nooks and crevices will darken and add dimension to the woody details. This is one teapot that does require a little extra attention for it's maintenance. I want to make sure the tea and water stains accentuate and highlight the organic shape of this tea and not leave marks on the smooth parts of the surface. Once I was done using the teapot, emptied the leaves and given it a quick rinse, I gently buffed the surface dry with a thick tea towel. Then I used a smaller, thinner cloth and rubbed away the stains that left outlines around the carved flowers and notches. You can also use a clean, medium-bristled paintbrush to get beneath the handle and other small niches.

While it takes time for the patina to develop, I feel an impatience to see those delicate flowers and carefully etched knots pop with contrast.

4 comments:

Brandon said...

Nice pot, dork.

yumcha said...

Yes, it is a nice pot :)
And I fully commit to my dorkiness!

Moobugger said...

tea forest.

matt said...

Tea Forest!