Friday, July 20, 2018

In search of a Light and Harmony Chaxi

Spring 2018 wild gushu raw puerh
The 15 years anniversary of my first class with Teaparker is coming soon! I know I can never thank him enough for all he has shared and taught me. For me, he's a modern Lu Yü, a tea genius underappreciated by his fellow countrymen because he's too refined and demanding. I continue to find his classes interesting, because he continues to learn new things and shares them with his students. He always stays 2, 10, 50 steps ahead of us! 
This week, Teaparker gave me a task for the next tea class: design a Chaxi combining harmony and light!
This is a great theme and it has given me inspiration and pressure to get creative. In this post, I am showing you 3 Chaxi I made these last 3 mornings. Here I share them with you and will use Facebook to get your feedback about which you like most!
For this task and this subject full of energy, I felt like brewing a fresh wild puerh. That's why I chose this latest addition to my selection: a marble made of spring 2018 gushu leaves from the same 500 years old trees that were pressed into cakes in 2017. Very few leaves were necessary for powerful brew in my silver teapot. The idea in this Chaxi is to use crystal, glass and very white porcelain to emphasize the light. The lotus flower is the symbol for harmony.
Day 2 - The heart shape box was a little too shallow to serve as Jianshui, but I can use it as a display plate for the dry leaves. I'm still using the 2018 gushu puerh, but fewer leaves this time. This tea is extremely powerful and has a sweet/bitter aftertaste that seems never to go away!
I replace the crystal ball with a crystal pineapple. The golden leaves are a good match for the color of the brew and the golden teapot! 
The light fragments in these crystal decorations and produces rainbows that add a kind of disco light atmosphere!
 This playful light splashing on the wall and the black Chabu brings a festive spirit. This morning light only lasts 30 minutes in my tea space. It's a reward for getting up early and a gift that reminds us that life is short and precious. Timing is everything. It's a problem for my tea class Chaxi: at 10 AM there won't be any sun in the usual spot, I'm afraid...
These pictures may end up being much better than anything I can produce in class, if I can't get a direct sunshine...
For this Chaxi, I added a round piece of paper to represent the moon. It lets us see the shadows of the small bamboos bonsai.
So many Chinese Tang poems come to mind with the full moon! The thin walls of porcelain let us see the qinghua painting on the cup!

2017 spring top old arbor raw puerh
Day 3 - I continue my adjustments to improve this Light and Harmony Chaxi.

This time I'm brewing the 2017 spring leaves to compare them with the 2018. The aromas indicate this puerh comes from the same trees, but it has much less bitterness! This softer taste also comes from the antique porcelain Dehua teapot I'm using instead of silver. Less power, more harmony.
With a bigger teapot, I've also switched to bigger, light celadon cups. This color helps making the brew look lighter and fresher (than with an ivory porcelain). But their color is not paired with the teapot and so I'm not sure if it's the right choice.
I'm still using a black Chabu, but instead of an Obi, I'm using the black side of this long Chabu.
In terms of decoration, I have simplified it by taking away the crystal butterflies and the jar. Puerh is the rare tea that doesn't really need much protection...
However, I've kept the round white moon to symbolize harmony and coming around a cup of tea. The interaction possibilities with the crystal, the bamboo shadow and the cups seem endless.
The simple and wonderful addition of a white round paper enables the play with light. This play with the sun is made in the same spirit as the tea play we're having with a Chaxi. It's all about being creative and never repeating oneself. Life is too short to repeatedly drink the same tea the same way. There's always something new that can be discovered, that can be learned and that can be shared. That's how you find joy in tea and life!
And that's how you stay motivated to write and share your tea experience for another 15 years!

1 comment:

EG said...

Hi Stephane,
These creations are truly magical! Hopefully, you can locate some sunlight during your tea class, otherwise maybe you could create directional lighting with a lamp. The crystal pineapple and butterflies, the black cloth and that wonderful moon add to a nighttime atmosphere, the feeling of light in darkness.

You could consider using a simple white porcelain dish to display the tea, instead of the more decorative choices. Maybe it would also echo the shape and lightness of the moon.

These Chaxi are interesting, eccentric, and very creative. I prefer the second version, but you could always combine and refine them. Coco Chanel did suggest that "a woman should always look in the mirror before leaving the house, and remove one accessory! You might just trust your instincts, even leaving some decisions until you are actually there, in your teacher's room. Thank you for sharing and best of luck! Elisabeth