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Terre et Thé 2013

25 July 2013

at 16:02 by Seb

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The third edition of Terre et Thé 2013 took place on July 19-20. This year we made a few changes.  Instead of asking local ceramists to come to us we collaborated with the 1001 Pots, Québec’s largest ceramics festival, now in its 25th year in the Laurentian town of Val David and one of North America’s most renowned events.

The idea behind Terre et Thé is to connect the world of local ceramics with the rapidly growing interest in teaware.  By introducing the parameters expected by the tea drinking community local potters have the necessary tools to refine their creations to suit this very specific market.

This year the object was the teapot, very difficult to make fully functional due to the mechanics of infusing and pouring.   A pre selection of 103 artisans had been put on display by the 1001 Pots crew in a beautiful shaded grove by a cascading stream, custom built for the purpose of Terre et Thé 2013- Thanks again!

The Camellia team of 4 judges gave each one of these 30 pots a thorough critique and testing. Functionality was the key, comfort, balance, practicality and, of course, that all important spout for a good pour without a drip.  A great diversity of sizes and styles were presented, the quality was high.  Though Catherine-Emma, a ceramist herself, analyzed use of materials and glazes for us our input was primarily technical.  Our capacity as ‘expert teapot users’  was the reason we were there.  Some of the most beautiful pieces were unusable as teapots making them purely decorative.

IMG_3038After almost 4 hours of careful deliberation we had prepared feedback for each of the 30 pots and decided on our 3 winners.  Interestingly our selection was unanimous.

Before the prizes were awarded we gave a presentation to an audience of keen artisans explaining in detail the parameters and dimensions we had used in our process so as to encourage the exchange and development of their work.   Then it came time to present the prizes:

In 3rd prize Mahmoud Baghaeian,

In 2nd Prize Chantal Auger,

And

Our winner for the Terre et Thé 2013 Best Teapot Julie Lavoie.

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SHINO: ABSTRACT ELEGANCE

19 July 2013

at 9:37 by Seb

shino T.K

This year, during our trip to Japan, one of our goals was to find out about the Shino style of ceramic, an ancient technique that dates from the 16th century. We focused our research in the Mino region and it was in the small town of Mizunami that we went to meet Mr. Kawaguchi in his workshop.

M. KawaguchiAn artisan potter for over 30 years, he makes his own clay with local raw material that comes from Toki. In fact the dense refractory clay of the region is of exceptional quality and highly appreciated by potters. He turns each of his bowls on a potter’s wheel. The forms are usually large, cylindrical and asymmetrical, in keeping with the tradition of Shino. Once the  pieces are dry and glazed, it is the turn of the fire do its work.

The potter invited us to visit his Anagama  wood oven which he built himself. It is impressive to see with its imposing bulk and high chimney. When firing, which usually lasts a week, the oven temperature can rise up to 1300 C. Once the firing is finished, cooling of the pieces can take several days depending on the season.

So, it is at the completion of the process that

Mr. Kawaguchi finds the Shino pieces with the right characteristics. A thick glaze that reveals itself differently on each bowl, going from milky white to charcoal grey and towards vivid red-orange. You can also see small holes on the surface of the pieces, a quality that favoured by tea grand masters of the period and which they named yuzuhada or “lemon skin.”

Shino pieces are the result of a long process and our meeting with the master potter has enabled us to understand the complexity of these works and appreciate their value. Imperfect forms, a trace of flame, a deposit of ash, slightly crackled glaze in which the tea tannins will settle over time …

These pieces of unique firing have recently arrived in our stores, pass by and check them out!

Catherine-Emma

Urbania 10

12 July 2013

at 11:40 by François Marchand

The Glace ML

Montréal’s famous magazine URBANIA celebrated its 10th year last month with a big party at the ToHu, the Cirque de Soleil’s headquarters. Having worked numerous joint projects over the years with the publication we were pleased to be invited to take part in the festivities. For this special occasion we created a brand new cocktail we call the ‘Urbania 10’. We collaborated for this with Ungava, a local company that distil a gin from regional ingredients and aromatic plants from Québec’s Great North. (Labrador Tea, rosehip, tundra flowers, brambles, wild-mulberries, crowberry and Nordic juniper). The results were astonishing, an unexpected harmony of flavours.

Recipe

-Cold-infuse the Wulong Milan Xiang Feng Xi for around 12 heures (immerse leaves in cold water and leave overnight) Use a ratio of 1 ½ teaspoons for each 250 ml of water. Add sugar to taste (around 1 teaspoon / 250 ml).

-Filter the infusion

-Add 1 oz of Ungava Gin to a tall glass of ice cubes

-Add 5 oz de iced Milan Xiang Feng Xi

-A quarter of lime or lemon for decoration.

Enjoy!

Eleven years

4 July 2013

at 9:34 by Seb

Our 11th tea tour is over (20th year for Kevin!). After all these years of buying and research in China, Taiwan, India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Rwanda, Vietnam and many other countries, what have we learned?

First is the exchange with the farmers who cultivate and make tea. Artisans who year after year focus on the quality of the product, adapting to the variables of the natural environment, to offer fresh, well made teas rich in aroma and flavour.

Producers faced with our many questions have always taken the time to respond, sometimes around the table in their home, often in the tea fields and tea factories. an invaluable opportunity for us to have such a rich source of accessible knowledge of tea manufacture and culture.

How much can there be to learn? Having spent many years furthering our understanding of the leaf and its technicalities (harvest, garden, transformation), we continue to immerse ourselves further in to this culture of tea. Through absorbing the rhythm of the lives of those who live there year-round, to know in more depth the numerous details of the history of tea, to explore other associated trades such as ceramics which is closely related to the pleasures of drinking tea. In addition to pushing the boundaries of our explorations, we must continue to monitor the developments of recent cultivars and stay on the lookout for new discoveries …

To end on a personal note, I would say that there is nothing greater than “the friendship” of tea. Such as Mr. Yu Nen welcoming me and saying emotionally:

“You know, as the day of your visit approaches, I said to myself: “This is not my client from Canada who is coming to see me, this is my friend”. Which is worth so much more than the material exchange.

 

Hugo

 
 

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