The gallery's current exhibition is Taiwan International Watercolor. It's the first time Taiwan's International Watercolor Society exhibits in the USA. For this event, Teaparker and me helped the Tea Institute co-host 2 successful tea parties on April 7th.
The guests came to enjoy fine tea and art. We showed them that tea itself could become an art. We used Teaparker's Cha Xi - Mandala concept to link both worlds.
The Tea Institute's 4 brewers and myself set up our Cha Xi to make tea for the guests. We would brew a Spring 2011 Si Ji Chun from Nantou county. We chose to all use a gaiwan to brew this Oolong, because it is a learning tool, fitting for students who want to study tea.
For my Cha Xi, I chose the theme of 'spring flowers'. They are symbols for these young students. We wish them to blossom, to lead wonderful lives thanks to the knowledge they learn at Penn State.
Loose tea started to be brewed in the Ming dynasty, under Emperor Hongwu. He was born in a family of poor peasants and his switch from away from the complex Sung dynasty tea whisking technique was also meant to make tea more affordable and popular. So, for me, this unexpensive Si Ji Chun was also good choice to show that tea is for everybody, especially here in the USA.
For some of my American guests, this was the first time they saw whole tea leaves! And even a US-Taiwanese guest was surprised that my tea tasted so much sweeter than the Oolong she drinks at home!