I have hundreds of pieces of tea ware, so it was a fun exercise for me to chose just five. I have prep vessels for different types and styles of tea for tasting as well as sentimental pieces and items that I use during tea sessions and classes. Some I use only as props for photoshoots. I’m always looking for new places to display them as I’m quickly running out of storage space.
Small glass teapot
This little glass teapot is the work horse of my collection. It may be fragile, but it has been used thousands of times since I purchased it 7 years ago. It has no chips or cracks, which one worries about with something that seems so fragile. Holding only 12 oz it’s just the right size to fill two teacups, so it's good for sharing between 2 people. I like the fact also that I can admire the colour of the tea's liquor through the glass.
Handleless cup with saucer
I don't know the provenance of this set as it was bought at rummage sale, but from what I've been able to discover, it may be close to 200 years old and quite likely from a pottery in England. This style of set was made from mid-1700's to the early part of the 1800's. Cups from this period were made to resemble the first porcelain cups that arrived with tea from China. They were adapted as larger cups with deep saucers that were often used to cool the tea. Every time I use this set I imagine the stories around its decades/centuries of use.
Handmade by Quebec ceramic artist Reynald Sauve, this exquisite kyusu has a perfect pour and well calculated balance and its tiny strainer holes block any leaves from entering the cup. I use it for Japanese Sencha green tea. Its little sister is a sweet factory made kyusu with an ingenious tubular strainer that circles the interiors walls of the pot, catching the leaves while the tea is being poured. Perfect size for tiny cups of Japanese Gyokuro.
Blue and white rice grain gaiwan
This may be a run of the mill gaiwan that I purchased in Los Angeles Chinatown, but it has a nice light feel and refinement that makes it easy to handle when pouring. I also like its "rice grain" pattern which gives it a transparent quality.
Japanese flower cup
This sweet little cup has travelled many places with me. It’s been to Europe, China and South Korea as well as throughout Canada and the US. It was given to me as a set of 5 from my son’s girlfriend. There are only 2 left – a blue one and a brown one which I travel with (shown). It is just the right size for holding on a plane or train. It is so nice to drink from a porcelain cup rather than a paper cup. I wrap it in a linen cloth to keep it from getting damaged.
The idea of teaware used only for props in photo shoots seems so luxurious. I am in the market for a kyusu so it is useful to read about features that work well. Thank you Linda for sharing some of your favorite tea vessels with us. And all the best for World Tea Expo 2016. All photos and stories courtesy of Linda Gaylard.
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