Recently, with influence from a studied teaware collector, Darlene Meyers-Perry, The Tea Enthusiasts Scrapbook, I have begun looking at teaware differently.
Yes, I have previously examined pieces I like, own and on occasion, buy. With this new focus, I am appreciating the history and creation a bit more.
To the point where I attended a lecture on Wedgwood, Majolica, which went on for one and a half hours, and I remained captivated by the recounting of the fashion influences of these Wedgwood pottery creations.
Unfortunately, this post is not about Wedgwood, I’ll leave that to Darlene. This post is about the lovely gift she presented me with at our meeting.
My friend is quite aware I collect snack/luncheon sets. I became enamored with this type of serving piece because, as a “creator of unique tea experiences” this eliminated the need for having a cup, saucer and a separate plate for tea sandwiches. My keep it simple practice, results in less weight in the load. So there is a practical element to my collecting.
At our meeting she gifted me with a lovely circa 1948-1955 Harker, Pate sur Pate, snack/luncheon plate. The color blue/grey is my color, I have nothing in my collection like it, she said, and she was right on target.
Harker Pottery, established by Benjamin Harker, Sr. in 1840, passed on to his sons and existed until 1972.
“Pate sur pate used a colored glaze like Cameoware. The shape of the ware, called Royal Gadroon, has a raised pie-crust edge. After dipping in the colored glaze the edge was wiped clean to produce a decorative border of white.”*
Along with this vintage treasure was a sampling of tea. This came about from a request I made last Sunday.
At our regularly scheduled Tea Geek “Tea Salon” the tea for discussion was Ali Shan wulong, many of us were not drinking the suggested tea, (I opted for a Lemongrass Herbal blend in honor of Cinco De Mayo).
Darlene was drinking and raving about an Old Tie Quan Yin from Taiwan she was drinking, given to her a few years ago and recently found in her “save for later” stash.
She spoke about the blackness of the leaves and the deep roasted flavor, a taste my palate leans towards. She held them up to the computer screen and that was my opportunity to suggest she bring some with her to our next “tea in the city” adventure.
Of course, I offered to exchange some recent acquisitions of my own, supplied from the Tea Geek himself, that came as a benefit to Tea Geek membership. Note, along with the tea samples, I also received a three page description of the tea, history and pertinent information about the samples, information Darlene enjoys immensely.
The Old Tie Quan Yin is everything Darlene described, heavily roasted, the flavor, leans towards a pu-erh experience. Strength of character in body, heavy roast, nutty, woody notes with very slight astringency. The rolled leaves black and beautiful with a sheen on the coat. Just looking at each rolled leaf, I was mesmerized, as they resembled a dark semi-precious stone (my jewelry focus never too far away).
The color of the brewed liquor, a rich lush red, and beautiful. This is truly a special treat, has earned a place in my “special stash” grouping, where it may continue to age and change in the process, if I don’t drink it all tonight. Although, this may just not happen, because looking at the leaves after the second infusion it looks as if there is more to come from this batch.
Oh, and by the way, we do discuss the suggested tea at the “Tea Salon”.