Saturday Morning Tea

Thunderstorms moved through our area last night and swept everything clean and fresh. It is a perfect day to be outside so I will bring my beadwork, my books and my drawing pad out to the back deck and enjoy some much needed Being time.

This morning’s tea is a Chinese white tea called Fuding Silver Needles. The name Fuding is for the coastal city on the East Sea in China. As you can see in the photo above, the name fits the tea perfectly. Grown in Fujian province, this tea is described as representing a cultural art form where each leaf is hand processed and carefully rolled so as to keep it intact.

Because the leaf is so big, I used 6 heaping teaspoons in my 12 ounce glass teapot and steeped for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The liquor is very pale with a hint of green and a sweet aroma. The taste is smooth and quite sweet with delicate toasty herbaceous notes. The subtlety of flavor is best enjoyed when you rid yourself of all distractions and immerse yourself in the moment. A good meditation tea.

“Attention is selectivity applied to perception. It is an inward decision, usually made unconsciously, about what is worth perceiving and what isn’t. Attention both finds meaning and creates meaning. When we adopt the principle of “separate the subtle from the gross”, we are deciding on purpose where we want our attention to go, temporarily withholding it from what is obvious and bestowing it instead on what is inconspicuous and elusive.” -On Becoming an Alchemist by Catherine MacCoun

Mixed Media Demo

At our last guild meeting, my kindred art spirit and dear friend Judy, showed us how she creates her beautiful mixed media art pieces using various objects to create texture in pastes and gels. After creating that texture on the canvas and letting the paste/gel dry, she then showed us how to stamp and paint over the textured areas for depth of color. A lot of the supplies she used were made by Golden but you can also achieve texture on your surface as she did with regular household paste found at your local home improvement store. You can see the full demo here.

After watching Judy’s demo, several of our members were talking excitedly about incorporating small polymer clay pieces and canework into a piece like this. Judy makes stamped, textured and glazed polymer clay buttons and faces to incorporate into her art. You can see a face at the top of her canvas. To see more of Judy’s work, visit her website.

Oh, the possibilities!

Saturday Morning Tea

I just love my little glass teapot.

This morning dawned clear and bright so I ventured out onto our backyard deck with my teapot and my camera. The light is fabulous out there before the sun rises over the trees and the deck becomes bathed in full sun.

My teapot holds a China black tea called Bohea Classic. You can see why Chinese black teas are also called red teas. The liquor is a gorgeous warm reddish brown.

The name Bohea, pronounced bu-i or boo-hee, comes from the name of the hills in Fujian province in China where this tea originated and is grown. I have read that Bohea black tea was created because the Chinese needed a way to preserve the green leaf on its voyage from Canton to London. Thus, they oxidized and dried the leaf more than they had been doing and Bohea black tea was born. It is listed in newspapers and shipping records of the American colonies from the 1700s. You can read more about that here. It was also part of the shipment tossed into Boston Harbor during the famous Boston Tea Party. So, this tea has quite the history.

The leaf is very dark and even colored and has a faint smoky aroma. The liquor has an earthy fragrance and silky smooth full mouth feel with smoky nuances. This would be a good tea for the addition of milk and sweetener as it is very rich and strong. I steeped the leaves for 4 minutes in boiling water but you could steep them longer. I have never experienced a China black tea turning bitter from oversteeping. Another bonus if you don’t use a timer and get lost in a project while you’re making tea!

The color of the liquor matches the clay in my tea bowl. Time to go sit on the deck and enjoy another cup…

A good neighbor, even in this,

Is fatal sometimes, cuts your morning up

To mince-meat of the very smallest talk,

Then helps to sugar her Bohea at night

With your reputation.

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

“Aurora Leigh”, Book 4

The Birth of a Blog

Today a kindred art spirit and friend of mine, Dora, has written her very first post on her brand new blog, Dora’s Explorations. Dora is a polymer clay artist extraordinaire and a fellow guild member in the Rhode Island Polymer Clay Guild. Her passion is canework and the photo above illustrates her fabulous talent. She is also our demo coordinator and always brings the most delicious coffee and on special occasion her decadent to-die-for Palm Beach brownies. If you get a chance, please do pay her a visit.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Dora!

I’ve been Tagged

It’s wonderful when friends come for a visit. In that spirit, I’ve been tagged by Vivage for an internet meme. It’s a fun game where someone tags you to, in this case, answer some questions about yourself. It gives your friends, new and old, the opportunity to learn some things about you.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

10 years ago my children were 17, 14 and 10 so, depending upon the time of year, I was very much involved in their ice hockey, field hockey, baseball, band practice and various other activities. I was also working part-time at the tea company and creating jewelry and selling it at arts and crafts shows in my area.

2. 5 things on today’s to-do list:

*Work in my studio (yay!)
*Work on my April BJP page.
*Help my son take care of some things before he leaves for Air Force basic training next week.
*Take Jack (our dog) for a walk.
*Do some more unpacking (ugh).

3. Snacks I enjoy:

Haagen daz vanilla frozen yogurt with fresh raspberries (Yum!)
Any kind of fruit
Anything chocolate

4. Things I’d do if I were a billionnaire!

Wow, I’m such a frugal person who has always lived on a limited budget so this is a hard one to contemplate. Anyway, here goes.

Quit my job.

Travel all over the world, first to Hawaii, and bring my family and friends, too.

Pay off all the debt that my family owes like mortgages and student and car loans.

Build a beach house with a fabulous studio with lots of windows overlooking the ocean and have workshops and retreats there.

Donate a lot of money to help all types of living beings.

Play in my studio a lot more

5. Places I have lived:

New Jersey

6. Peeps I want to know more about

Anyone who would like to play along!