Early readers of this blog will remember Master Gu, Chuan Ze (scroll down a bit). We met again last Sunday, during the 'Taiwan old tea' event. He proudly showed me his latest work: a big cup for oolong tea.
As always with Master Gu, this one is made of a very special mix of clays. These different clays used together provide very artistic patterns on the outside wall.
The inside is even more interesting: on top of the glazing, Master Gu added a mix of powdered, dried tea leaves (after being brewed) and water. He put more of this tea mix on several places on the rim, so that it would flow downwards in the bowl, like a tear, during the firing (at 1230 degrees). Master Gu did several such cups using different teas for the mix (oolong, pu er...) and says that each cup will add a different taste to the tea, depending on the which mix was used. Best is to use the same tea kind as used in the mix on the cup.
I can only confirm his words. This fortunate meeting let me use the bowl I made with his clay and instructions again. I used a heavily roasted oolong I got as a sample long time ago. Heavy roasting often carries some kind of unpleasant charcoal taste. My bowl was able to substantially diminish this bad taste and give it a fresh feeling again. That's why I think that his teaware is a very good choice to drink the often heavily roasted Taiwan old teas.
You'll see mor of Master Gu's works here (in Chinese). I don't see any prices on his website anymore. I just remember that they are quite expensive compared to manufactured ware. No wonder, they are all made by hand, using special clays and proper firing. These are not only beautiful pieces of art, but also tools that improve the taste and flavor of your drinks (not limited to tea!). Looking at it from a contemporary art point of view, I reckon it's very affordable. He will be exhibiting his works in Beijing in the second week of October (a famous place from what I heard, but I didn't catch the exact name).
Sencha de Shimizu, Oku-yutaka
2 days ago