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Quebec Ceramists

4 March 2019

at 17:10 by Social
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International Women’s Day is approaching and we thought of introducing you to the many Quebec ceramists who adorn the Camellia Sinensis tablets, and your tea spaces at home. Artists with incredible talent and each with a very characteristic artistic signature.

Makiko

Makiko Hicher Nakamura was born in Hokkaido Japan. She lived for many years in France before settling in Quebec in 2011. When asked how she became a potter, she replied. “Quite by chance!  I saw a course advertised for a ceramics workshop gave it a try and loved it. I immediately thought:  this is for me.”
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She creates delicate work while retaining the essence of the material, leaving room for intuition and spontaneity in the design ”I let my hands work and I clear my head. Turning puts me into a trance.”
She prefers making cups and bowls. For her, teaware is more demanding than other table pottery. During production, she is more aware that they are utensils dedicated to a very specific purpose: “I learn by simply drinking tea, I analyze why pieces are good or not. I practice the tea ceremony a little to better understand their use.”
Makiko loves simplicity, the joy of daily life. She loves cups that hold well in the hand (she does not like mugs). Most of all, she loves to imagine that people enjoy their tea (or coffee) in the teaware she produces.
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Julie Lavoie
Julie Lavoie’s passion for the world of ceramics began in 2005, while studying at the Centre de Céramique Bonsecours in Montreal. There she developed a keen interest in porcelain and firing at high heat.
A few years later, she undertook a six-month trip to Japan in order to learn more about the types of wood ovens and firing techniques used there. This trip allowed her to appreciate teaware in much greater depth. She also discovered that ceramic teaware, the work of the artisan, is ubiquitous in Japanese society and she left permeated by their approach to the material and its transformation. It is in this spirit that she has developed a series of teaware designed for tea tasting.
The forest is, for her, a a source of infinite inspiration: trees and their special presence, also the sky – on which day and night are portrayed, and the water courses in which they reflect. The desire to get closer to nature has recently involved leaving Montreal to install her studio in a small village in the region of Estrie.
The works she offers are fired at high temperature in a gas oven. She uses specific glazes, the fruits of long research, which allow her to create a unique and personal world. As a base, she prefers porcelain for its delicacy, strength and whiteness, qualities that offer the glaze a base to present their story.
About her work, Julie explains: “A bowl that molds to the palm of your hand and fits perfectly to the lips to deliver its promise of flavor. That is the whole simple poetry of a ceramic piece. The items of tableware and teaware are the ones that I love the most, because their presence nourishes our lives.’
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Carmen Abdallah
The pricinpal focus of Carmen Abdallah is on the production of pieces for the art of tea. This choice was inspired by her three year stay in the south of Japan (2002-2005). The function and aesthetics she gives to her works is inspired by the knowledge she gained during her ceramics training in Japan. Her work on the glaze and shape makes every Carmen Abdallah piece unique and, nevertheless, retaining the characteristic style of the artist.
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Bowls.Carmen Abdallah works the red and white clays that she turns on an electric or foot powered turntable. She carves, reshapes and modifies the symmetrical forms to make them more spontaneous and organic. Her glazes are inspired by traditional Japanese recipes, containing a large amount of wood ash. She fires her pieces in an electric furnace or oven.
In 2010, Carmen Abdallah returned to Japan and learned how to build an Anagama style wood oven. Ever since then, she fires her pieces in the oven she built in Quebec. Regarding this process, Carmen says: “This method fascinates me and I am deeply focused on the effects of ash and flame in such a firing. It gives good results from melted wood ash on the pieces which looks like glass. This process makes each piece even more unique, and even heroic, to have faced and survived such heat and atmosphere for 24 hours or more. ”
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Nadine Desmarais
Looking into her story, we realize the potter has a rich artistic background in visual presentation, advertising and photography. This explains such artistic maturity in a new line of work. “I have tried to express myself in many ways during my life (…) However, it is through clay that I find today an inner freedom from which springs my creativity”.
Carrying the Gaspésie region deep in her heart, it is no coincidence that Nadine Desmarais’s ceramics, with their pearly finishes and soft textures, always remind us of its seashores.
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Catherine de Abreu
Laval ceramist Catherine De Abreu advocates a contemporary approach to the objects she creates.  As she prepares her ceramic’s third firing, the artist lays out laser decals that will add her object’s undeniable signature: the jellyfish.
Why this creature? “There is no specific reason … I find this marine specimen fascinating, it’s seducing simply by its beauty.”
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Stéphanie Blanchet
Quebec ceramicist Stéphanie Blanchet creates mainly utilitarian pieces to enhance and share the daily rituals of life. Her vibrant style expresses “(…) the passion, the joy and the richness that my work gives me.” And that is precisely the impression we have!
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Practical and Ecological Tea Bottles

30 September 2018

at 17:19 by Social

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Perfect for travelling, tea bottles are a practical and ecological object. We offer several varieties, perfect for every need!

They offer both ways to infuse your tea, according to the technique that suits you and your preferences.

Technique # 1 - ”Chinese style”

  • Warm the inside of the flask with hot water for a few seconds.
  • Remove the infuser, place the tea at the bottom of the flask (1 to 2 tsp, depending on the type of tea selected) and replace the mesh sieve.
  • Pour in water at the recommended temperature. Wait a few minutes and enjoy.

This preparation technique ensures that the tea is infused continuously. To avoid a too full bodied infusion, it is recommended to add more water at the correct temperature after drinking about half of the brew. Nearly all teas can be prepared this way. Only very finely chopped teas do not provide good results.

Technique # 2 - Controlled infusion

  • Warm the inside of the flask with hot water for a few seconds.
  • Remove the basket part of the infuser and put the tea leaves in the basket before reattaching the mesh sieve.
  • Install the infuser in the flask and pour in the water at the recommended temperature.
  • Infuse for the time required, remove the infuser and enjoy.

This preparation technique is suitable for all types of tea and allows you to control the development of the infusion to your own taste.

Discover our three practical bottles:

Bamboo and Porcelain Flask

Here is a practical brewing vessel of amazing simplicity, designed for people who want to drink tea on the move. This flask is made of porcelain with an airtight lid and a removable stainless steel filter. It allows you the choice to brew your tea leaves using the technique you find most convenient at the time.

Glass Flask

Here is a practical brewing vessel of amazing simplicity, designed for people who want to drink tea on the move. This flask is made of double walled glass with an airtight lid and a removable stainless steel filter. It allows you the choice to brew your tea leaves using the technique you find most convenient at the time.

Inox Flask

Besides its insulated aspect, the magic of this flask lies in the fact that none of its components have to be detached to drink the tea, or even to infuse it.

The sealed lid can be opened with one hand with the push button. The filter is attached to the flask and its function is transformed depending whether it is placed on the left or right side. This enables you to brew your tea leaves using the choice of technique that suits you. This simple handling makes it a very useful travel accoutrement.

This flask is made of double wall stainless steel which considerably reduces heat to the hands while effectively maintaining the temperature of the tea. The lime green part is made of certified BPA free plastic.

Camping : Never Without my Tea!

6 August 2018

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Fans of camping and the great outdoors will be pleased to learn that we offer many practical objects to make your tea wherever you are. Simple and efficient!

Here are two ways to enjoy your tea while camping:

1) Quick and practical

Very simply: put a filter in your cup, add 1-2 tsp of tea and fill the cup with hot water (75-95 depending on the tea). Infuse for 3-5 minutes, remove the filter and enjoy.

2) For a Grand Cru

Our new travel kits are perfect to enjoy a Grand Cru with friends around the campfire. With everything you need to get the best out of your favorite teas, wherever you may wander.

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Back to Basics: How to Choose the Perfect Teapot

6 May 2018

at 17:22 by Social
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Glass, cast iron or ceramic? Before choosing a teapot, it is good to have an idea of how we will use it. While most teapots are versatile and can be used for a full range of teas, others are more suited for certain family of teas.
A glazed ceramic surface allows all styles of tea to be infused without the taste of the previous infusion. If you’re looking to experiment with a wide variety of teas, this versatility make it the prime choice. Also recommended for delicate, subtle teas such as white teas or Chinese green teas.
Similarly to ceramic teapots, glass teapots are also known for their versatility and neutrality. The inner surface allows for any type of tea to be infused but the distinct sensorial advantage is the spectacular visuals through the glass the as your infusion opens before your eyes.
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These are handmade teapots, known to absorb a tea’s aromas. The porous surface adds mineral content changing the water quality and making it the perfect choice for any tea lover looking for dedicated teapot for one family of teas. Over time, the teapot will build a mild “memory that adds a layer of taste to the  profile. Notably ideal for for black teas, wulong and Pu Er.
Kyusu teapots are lesser known in the Occident but are ideal for preparing small leaved Japanese teas. They are created with a delicate clays that add lightness to their ergonomic designs. They can be used for a classic green tea infusion or for a senchado technique.
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Originally used as kettles in China, cast iron teapots are now a Japanese speciality. The enamelled interior surface allows for any tea to be infused without memory.
Metal
There are many different types of metal teapots each of a different quality. If you’re looking to infuse mint tea, we recommend the traditional teapots of the Magreb as they maintain heat very well. However, for infusing more delicate teas metal teapots are not recommended.

The Art of Mr Kamada

2 September 2015

at 9:27 by Seb

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Here’s a text from our new book ’Green Tea: The Quest for Fresh Leaf and Timeless Craft freshly translated into English and now on sale.

Mr. Kamada has been practicing the art of pottery for over forty years. He has ded- icated the better part of his work to developing a modern and original vision of the Tenmoku style, which goes back to the Chinese Song dynasty [960-1279] and was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks in the eighteenth century.

Mr. Kamada is one of the rare modern Japanese ceramists who have dedicated their life to creating pottery in the Tenmoku style and to researching its history. The fascinating glaze effects and the overall quality of his works have made him one of the most respected potters in Kyoto. His works are exhibited in many of Japan’s most prestigious galleries. Since 2005, his most recent creations have also been part of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s permanent collection.

Upon meeting Mr. Kamada, we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his work, his methods, and the art of pottery.

M. Kamada et ses oeuvres

AN INTERVIEW WITH MR. KAMADA,
 A POTTER FROM KYOTO

Mr. Kamada, after over forty years of practicing the craft, ou have certainly developed a personal approach to pottery. What do you need to work?

I only need concentration and a suitable workspace.

What influences and motiva es you in your work?

Before, I was inspired and influenced by the great tradition of ancient ceramic arts.
 I studied this subject, but reproducing this type of pottery is no longer a goal for me. Nowadays, I am more inspired by other forms of art or by nature. My main interest is to produce original works in the Tenmoku style. I get excited when a museum or the Japan Crafts Association invites me to exhibit my works. It is very stimulating to have this opportunity to show new works.

What does it take to be a good potter?

In my opinion, to always keep exploring is the best attitude. I learn a lot from my mistakes. For example, no matter how much I try to control the glazing, the effects are always different.

What is your view of the art of pottery in present-day Japan, in com- parison with when you started?


When I began my career, there were many young potters and this art was very much alive. Since then, pottery has become quite diverse. Today, it is increasingly about design. It seems that the original character of a piece of pottery no longer has the same value. Consumers from all over the world can buy pottery without even touching the pieces. In an ideal world, I believe that people should have the opportunity to touch and hold the pieces before buying them. 

Other works by Mr Kamada are available in our stores on Emery Street in Montreal and in Quebec.

Ask our experts to show them to you when you next visit. An unforgettable experience guaranteed!

An Encounter with Mr. Nakahara, a Potter From Hagi

23 July 2015

at 12:00 by Seb

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Here’s a text from our new book ’Green Tea: The Quest for Fresh Leaf and Timeless Craft freshly translated into English and now on sale.

Mr. Nakahara, how did you become a potter?


In Hagi, pottery is a local industry. Since I grew up in this city, I have always been close to this art. Many artisans lived close to my home. When the time came to choose a career, I naturally thought of becoming a potter.

Some Hagi pieces have a notch on their bottom. Why is that?

There was a period during which people were not authorized to use the same pottery as the emperor. To identify the bowls that were not intended for him, potters inscribed a notch. This tradition is still alive today.

In your opinion, what are the qualities of a good potter?

To begin with, to make good pottery, you must be skillful. You must have agile fingers. I believe that dexterity is a crucial part of pottery technique. You must also know how to use the potter’s wheel. When I work, I think about pleasing my clients, about what format would be most useful for them, and so forth. The elegance and beauty of each piece are things I am very concerned about.

I also believe that one can sense an artist’s humanity through his work. Analyzing a work of art is difficult for amateurs as well as professionals.à 

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Even if they are not experts in pottery, most people feel something mysterious when they see or touch a piece. I believe that they can intuitively feel what kind of a person made the piece. So I think a good potter should have a positive outlook in his everyday life.

People say that the present-day Japanese have neither beliefs nor principles. I don’t agree; I think that we all believe in something. Pottery is the mirror of an artist’s way of life. I don’t think that a buyer chooses my pieces randomly. I believe that you recognize me through my work.

How do you view the art of pottery in contemporary Japan, com- pared with the period when you began?


The pottery industry in Japan is very respectful of tradition. That being said, young potters have more difficulty if they don’t come from a family of artisans who pass the torch from generation to generation. Maybe young artists are not given their fair due. Potters who have been established for a long time are highly respected by people in the industry. Their pottery is very expensive. This is how it was in the past and the situation has not changed.

The wonderful challenge of the teapot

9 April 2014

at 11:57 by Seb

Synnott

Ceramist Fabienne Synnott has enjoyed shaping clay since childhood. She studied at McGill University, with Richard Lynn Studham, a British potter. Inspired by Asian ceramics, she is particularly impressed by traditional Japanese glazes: Shinos, celadon, tenmokus, Kakis. For her, what makes tea objects so special is their ritual function. She also tends to attribute this dimension to other tableware.

When asked about her profession, she finds the words to express her love of ceramics: “My hands are two separate entities. They know what to do when I set to work. [...] I am inspired by nature and its many faces. I’m interested in the textures and patterns of the plant kingdom. I love the light and the way it transforms everything. I can be very emotional at the sight of the light that changes the colour of a leaf. Archetypal symbols such as the goddess and warrior fascinate me too.”

la belle urne de la femme à moustache...She appreciates the diversity and complexity of each step of her work. However, it is at the moment of taking the pieces out of the oven that she finds her greatest satisfaction. “Firing with gas or wood, I work to prepare the clay as well as possible, so that the fire leaves its mark. The oxygen reduction, characteristic of these firings, transforms the finish of the pieces leaving a palette of shades that I find beautiful. When the transmutation takes place, I’m really transported in contact with the pieces the oven offers me. ”

Above all, she enjoys the teapot, whose fabrication represents a wonderful challenge for her: “I say challenge because it seriously is one! You see, a teapot is made of four pieces that must be turned at more or less the same time and which will then be trimmed, carved and assembled. I treat every teapot as a sculpture in its own right. I search for aesthetic harmony as much as for the pleasure of functionality with a good feel in the hand, a spout which pours well, a screen which retains leaves without blocking, a lid that adds a touch of originality and stays in place when you pour. All this in an object that I want to be unique and well balanced. Yes, it is a great challenge every time! And that’s not to mention when one of these teapots comes out of the oven particularly blessed by the fire! ”

She likes to drink tea from fine china as well as from rustic stoneware with crackled glaze: “I have a very diverse collection of ceramics to drink from. It is as much about mood as variety. ”

Fabienne Synnott lives and works in Quebec. She is preparing an artistic residency for 2015 in Japan.

LOCAL POTTERS

Meet the Quebec artisans who are passionate about the objets and art of tea. Every two months, pieces by a different designer will be presented in this unique showcase, giving you the chance to enjoy the great quality and diversity of the work of some of our local potters.

Peter Ting Tasting Set

22 December 2013

at 10:42 by Seb

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Peter Ting is a London based designer, famous for his award-winning work in the world of luxury ceramics.

Much of his work is in fine porcelain for the collectors market. Currently the Creative Director for LEGLE, Limoges in France his vast portfolio of work from the last 20 years includes work for Royal Crown Derby and Asprey among many others, and state gifts for Queen Elizabeth and The Prince of Wales.  His work can be found in many museum catalogues including Victoria and Albert Museum, London UK, and Museum of Art and Design, New York USA.
In 2012 Ting launched a set of 3 tea tasting cups.  The varied shapes of the three pieces highlight the importance of cup shape, playing with the subtle dynamics of liquor delivery to the mouth, the channeling of aromatic vapors and heat retention.  Thus the same tea tasted in the 3 different cups will give a different sensorial experience.

londonWhen I met Peter, he presented me with the same tea in the 3 different cups.  As a taster I naturally slipped into analysis mode and slurped but he told me ‘sip don’t slurp’.  The cup should do the work.

The ‘Fragrant’ cup:

The tulip form of this cup both encourages heat retention and channels the resulting evaporation of fragrant vapors directly to the nose.  Ideal for the enjoyment of an aromatic bouquet.

The ‘Black’ cup:

This cup, not to be restricted to black tea, has deep vertical sides and slightly curved bottom. The wide top allows access to more subtle bouquets, while the straight sides deliver a full mouth for the full-bodied experience.

The ‘Green’ cup:

This cup also has a larger surface area for light bouquet but the liquor transfer from the curved lip enhances texture and controls mouth placement for the enjoyment of more subtly layered flavor profiles of any style of tea.

Personally I find the most rewarding use of the Ting Tasting Kit is to use the same tea in each of the cups to explore different aspects of the same flavor profile.

In Canada The Ting Tasting Set is exclusive to Camellia Sinensis.

Simple forms for Simple Living

15 December 2013

at 7:07 by Seb

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Makiko Hicher Nakamura was born in Hokkaido Japan. She lived for many years in France before settling in Quebec in 2011. When asked how she became a potter, she replied. “Quite by chance!  I saw a course advertised for a ceramics workshop gave it a try and loved it. I immediately thought:  this is for me.”

She creates delicate work while retaining the essence of the material, leaving room for intuition and spontaneity in the design ”I let my hands work and I clear my head. Turning puts me into a trance.”

nakamura crop

She prefers making cups and bowls. For her, teaware is more demanding than other table pottery. During production, she is more aware that they are utensils dedicated to a very specific purpose: “I learn by simply drinking tea, I analyze why pieces are good or not. I practice the tea ceremony a little to better understand their use.”

And of the Japanese influence? “I have used  Japanese pottery since I was little. It is my tradition and custom. However, this is not to say that I make Japanese pottery.”

Makiko loves simplicity, the joy of daily life. She loves cups that hold well in the hand (she does not like mugs). Most of all, she loves to imagine that people enjoy their tea (or coffee) in the teaware she produces.

LOCAL POTTERS

Meet the Quebec artisans who are passionate about the objets and art of tea. Every two months, pieces by a different designer will be presented in this unique showcase, giving you the chance to enjoy the great quality and diversity of the work of some of our local potters.

France Turcotte: Happiness is in the teapot

1 August 2013

at 10:34 by Seb

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France Turcotte has practised the craft of pottery for over 35 years. Throughout these years she has explored many avenues offered by ceramics: raku firing, smoke firing, porcelain, turning small batches. One of these paths is of particular interest: the creation of teapots. For a potter, the design of a teapot represents a great technical  and aesthetic challenge both through the search for balance in the integration of  various parts and the search for harmony between form, function, decoration and glaze. She turns her teapots on the wheel with a white clay which she fires in an electric oven at 1200 ° C.

F TurcotteFrance Turcotte divides her time between her studio and the Sainte-Foy Ceramic Centre, of which she is the director. Never in her career, has she ceased to be filled with a passion for ceramics and every day she rejoices at how lucky she is to practice this craft.

She won the 2010 prize for  “Teapot and tea bowl sets” in the “Clay and tea, Quebec teaware contest”  at Camellia Sinensis tea house.

LOCAL POTTERS

Meet the Quebec artisans who are passionate about the objets and art of tea. Every two months, pieces by a different designer will be presented in this unique showcase, giving you the chance to enjoy the great quality and diversity of the work of some of our local potters.

 
 

special collection

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Here you will both find Teaware and Teas created by some of Asia’s most talented craftsmen.

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