For a few months now I have been wanting to put this piece in ink. It came out of love for my Grandfather who passed a few years ago. He was an honest and simple man who had lived through the World Wars. With that it was second nature to reuse something as much as possible.
For him it was very evident with his tea. I remember visiting him and seeing the spent tea bags drying out so they may be used again latter on. He continued this practice with a single teabag for an unknown amount of times.
Tea for my family was a normal way to greet guests or end a meal. I feel so blessed to have had such a man as my Grandfather and I miss him dearly.
It was very satisfying to see this work start (finally). Once everything is inked out the real task will be to portray how reusing tea so many times will effect the colour and taste.
“Grandpa’s Tea” WIP
Ink on paper
8 x 10 Inches
As many prize pu-er and start collecting them, I have a habit of collecting matcha. When its the right quality it has beautiful chocolate notes that vary from make to make. I was lucky enough to have Kono-en as my first matcha. David’s tea had opened their first shop on Queen Street here in Toronto and they had it!
I was a poor student at the time but I quickly grabbed my first whisk (chasen) and asked for a can. Then got out. The first sip of this Jade brew changed how I feel about tea and pushed me to try different kinds, meet other tea people and learn more. I would not be where I am without this experience.
Recently I have been coming across posts stating matcha is made from Gyokuro. Another fine Japanese tea that was my push to try matcha. Even a company handbook I read stated the same thing. This I mentioned my previous post.
The truth is that this tea is made from “Tencha”. This is made by first shading tea bushes for thirty days, this concentrates the theanine amino acid (to put it simply, its one of the many antioxidants). It gives the tea its full bodied flavour.
Once Hachijuhachiya (88 days) after spring has begun harvesting begins. This marks the beginning of the first harvest which lands in early May.
When the leaves are taken back to the factory, they “kill the green”. This is a great process that will prevent the leaves from oxidizing and (oh noes!) become a different kind of tea. For this the leaves are steamed for 15-20 seconds within the first 12-20 hours of plucking.
My favorite part is drying, because the leaves get blown around in a multi-chamber air machine. Before they completely dry they pass through a special drum like machine where stems and veins are removed. The tea is now “Tencha”, aka. pre-matcha.
The fun part starts, the leaves are ground by a stone grinder, but before that the tea is aged. The leaves are packed up and stored for 6 months to a full year. The taste over time rounds out to become smoother and develops the harvests unique taste for the matcha being made. Then in the stone grinder,once its time to take the leaves out, the slight heat created from the friction of the stones grinding together give the tea its unique smoothness.
Matcha is a wonderful tea with a very unique practice for creating just the tea to be used to brew. I enjoy learning and making this fabulous tea because of the process involved, that may be due to my being an artist. If you have not tried matcha before I highly advise you give it a whirl. Keep an eye out on my youtube and here for a simple step by step matcha making video. Till next time, keep steepin’ on~
Photo credit to: Mr.Randazzo also Thank you to Dr.Ralph Fareber for answering my questions and allowing us to become friends.
After applying a few layers of rice paper I decided to sand part of it away and even get it wet to help with the process. I wore a mask as I had an asthma attack a few days earlier, it helped to an extent. Once I got really into sanding parts of it away I got a little winded.
I left it propped up against the wall over night, and came back after work… the cats had used it as a scratching post!!! I have been cleaning up the studio today and will take some pictures of the result they created.
Pride is just around the corner I can’t wait to see some old friends who have been away for a while. I will be posting about different aspects which relate to my practice and have them linked to the “Studio Research” page which is on the right. I hope to have a collection so I have a better understanding of what I do and like. I have posted a list of ones I want to do at this point in time, but I hope this list will grow. Many of them may help others and I hope they do. This is the second part of my reason for doing this. Please look forward to these posts~
This year has been great. I have joined the AGO and the South Asian Visual Art Centre. In addition to attending great workshops, documenting and self-mentoring.
To begin the year I showed Hysteria that was a return to an old process that I used. One of which I am working on still on the side.
My other work is branching out slowly. Watercolour has come back into my work, and I need to understand it more. Just as I need to learn more about sumi-e ink, I hope to play, make mistakes and possibly take more classes on them. This coming year is very important to me as I am turning 25. No longer am I a young adult but a full adult. Its time to make everything fall into place, a lot is planned for 2012. I have a whole to-do list dedicated just to my art practice which is displayed in large print on my wall next to my desk. Seeing it since I printed it just reminds me of how much needs to get done for the more technical side of art. Website, professional business cards and networking sites. Everything links together. Exciting! Exciting things are going to happen.
Over the next day or so I will be finishing a work for a e-card for my mailing list. I have added a few people whom I hope want to be included but this initial Holiday “card” will allow them to opt out if they so please. If you would like to be added to my list I have a link to the right of my blog for you.
It has been a long few weeks leading up to the holidays. I am off to be for the night to be prepared for another day of work Studio and Work-Work. Happy Holidays everyone~