Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shops MissouriBendStudio or MissouriBendMusings on Etsy.com or on my website.

Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Life in Tea

It occurred to me the other day, as I was reading through a blogpost from a tea drinker that I have not shared with you my love of tea....and its place in my daily life of essentials!  You may not find that at all surprising, given my love of all things teabag in terms of making art, but I'm not a drinker of tea made from teabags, unless I'm in a real pinch....I almost always drink loose tea.  This makes it rather difficult to procure enough used teabags to fill my needs, so I will sometimes make a cup of Tazo Awake tea just for the teabag. When I'm in a group setting for any length of time, I get people to save their teabags for me, which is a huge help. A number of years ago I spent a month-long residency at the Vermont Studio Center and for much of the time there, scores of people were saving their teabags for me and I would come to my studio each morning to find a small, damp pile of teabags awaiting my attention....but what a boom for my teabag collection!

But, back to the topic at hand....my very essential tea drinking proclivities!  I sometimes think of myself as a tea evangelist, as I would say to those that who profess not to like tea and even to those who can take it or leave it, that unless you've had a cup or pot made from loose tea, you've not really had tea.  And I will actually go further to say to my tea drinking friends (or those about to be converted or willing to two-time their coffee drinking habits) that unless you've had a cup made from tea ordered from Upton Tea Imports in Holliston, Massachusetts, you're probably still missing out.  I've never been there, but I've been ordering my tea from their amazing catalog for over a decade.


I've had tea from tea shops and tea catalogs from all over the country and have never had anything that was as good as my beloved Upton Tea Imports.  The most wonderful thing about them is that you can order absolutely any of their 40+ pages of tea from all corners of the earth in a sample size, which gives you enough for a couple pretty good size pots.  


This enables you to try any tea at a very affordable price to see if you like it.....that's how I found my daily tea, Halmari Estate CTC BOP, described thus: "a bold CTC [cut-tear-curl]  style tea with rich flavor.  The dark liquor will readily take milk. Especially suited as a bracing morning tea.".....oh, yes.
It's rich and malty and one can't describe it in terms of anything else....which can be frustrating.  So, while I continue to order samples of their various teas, which include new ones in each issue as they become available, I now order my Halmari Estate (catalog #:TA27H) through a standing order, which means that every other month, like clockwork, there will be a 500 gram (17.6 oz) bag of tea waiting for me in the mailbox....and not a minute too soon!


Cut-tear-curl tea is tea leaves curled into tiny pellets...

I'm always just about down to my last bit in the tin and starting to sweat it out that I'll have to go without....and then the tea arrives!  Yesterday, just in time, there was the package waiting for me....saved.  My daily ritual continues uninterrupted.  You can order online from Upton Tea Imports, but I love their quarterly catalog, which includes a running history of the tea trade.  

I think I'll have a finished piece to show to you tomorrow in the slow hand stitched work, but here's the last few dailies in the meantime.  Thanks so much for your wonderful comments about these daily pieces....it's very encouraging and much appreciated!

1-26-12

1-25-12

1-24-12

Sorry for the poor quality of these images.....turns out I'm not becoming any better at photographing the pieces....I'll need to work on that for the new shop!

I'm very excited to see Bryan Bowers, the amazing autoharp folk musician, at the National Music Museum brown bag lunch concert tomorrow.  He comes through about every other year and it's always an amazing treat!

Hope you're having a great week.




25 comments:

  1. Thought you might like to see the pictures of my naturally dyed teabags x te

    ReplyDelete
  2. oops here is the link
    http://soewnearth.blogspot.com/2012/01/tea-bags.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sending this link....I'll have to go back and read more on your blog (now following tho!) to see how you are doing the dying....they're beautiful!!

      Delete
  3. What a small world! That's where I order my loose teas from also. My favorite is the "Scottish Breakfast Blend". I enjoy the "Halmari" also plus the "C & T Irish Breakfast". All 3 bold and beautiful! cc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for you! How did you come to be ordering from Upton? I'll have to try the Scottish Breakfast Blend sometime....I like the Irish Breakfast....seems we share similar taste in tea! I'm curious about your profile description....quasi-librarian? Having spent my working years in libraries, just wondering a little more about that....I might have adopt the same for myself...ha ha! Thanks for your comment...cheers!

      Delete
  4. sounds like good tea, but really wish i could see the lunch concert...that really sounds terrific.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bryan Bowers is a real treat....he's been around a long time and is at least nationally known so you could find CDs if you don't already have them! Nice to hear from you....enjoy the day!

      Delete
  5. goodness! so much to address here! from one tea evangelist to another: thank you for naming us ever so appropriately. an honor to be part of the tribe. i source my tea from various places and have yet to find a standby. thrilled to be trying upton, per your recommendation. already placed an order.

    i also drink loose leaf exclusively, and love using tea bags in my art. i like using my infuser tea pot, but when i'm short on used tea bag supplies, i use these: http://www.amazon.com/Adagio-Teas-5-Paper-Filters/dp/B001G8XORG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1327643104&sr=8-2

    as for your photography, i wouldn't sweat it. i give mine a 30 second facelift in photoshop. just a quick adjustment of exposure, brightness/contrast & vibrancy. et voila!

    it sounds like you've decided to open a second shop. i can't wait to see it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anca....I think it may have been of of your blogposts that inspired this....hope I didn't come off as a zealot, just an enthusiastic evangelist. Let me know how you like Upton's....you are a speedy one! Thanks for the link to the used teabag supplies! It never occurred to me that I didn't have to get my own or gather them up from friends! As for the photography....even my Photoshop Elements facelifts leave them lacking....they look good when I'm finished, but when I post them they are still too dark! I'll work on it....yes, gearing up for the second shop, thanks to the encouragement I've gotten!!! Thanks so much!

      Delete
    2. to clarify, the link is to tea filters that you can use to brew your loose leaf. they have them in different sizes - single cups or pots (3-4 cups). i've only ever used the 1-2 cup/ small size ones. i do prefer making a whole pot at once, so perhaps i should also try the 3-4 cup filters. i let them dry with the tea inside before taking them apart for art. i do like integrating my tea habit with my art neatly. i drink the tea, and the tea filters become art. natural and organic process.

      on photoshoping, i sometimes look at the edited photos in etsy and they look too dark still. i just go back to photoshop and exaggerate the exposure even more and usually it's enough to brighten it up without looking unnatural or affecting the colors.

      Delete
    3. Ohhhh, gottcha! My teapot has a built in strainer basket...it's actually a "French press" version of a teapot and works really well. But, that's good to know....I might occasionally use the filters for my afternoon one cup-o-tea!

      I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that find the photos still too dark....sometimes I'm just too lazy to fiddle with it anymore, but going back to reedit is clearly the answer. Probably should just overcompensate on the brightness to begin with! Thanks so much Anca!

      Delete
  6. Thanks for posting this!! My used tea bags go into the compost bin to make new soil, but if I were closer, you could have some of them, as plenty of tea is drunk in this house!! I'm going to have to check out your tea supplies catalogue. The little shop in London where I used to buy all my favourite blends closed down and so I've been making do with other tea instead since then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie....I think you'll like Upton, or at least I hope so. We once had a couple here for dinner and the wife was English....when I served the tea, she practically swooned and said she hadn't had tea that good since she'd left England! I took that as a mighty fine compliment....for the Upton tea and not for me! I hate to hear of English tea shops closing....what a sad state of affairs!

      Delete
  7. I think I'm a bad tea drinker. I like all fruity flavours. As long as there is no artificial flavoring in it, I'm happy. But I totally second that teabags are great material. I like the dailies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dorien...no such thing as a bad tea drinker! If you are drinking herbal teas, they're tisanes and not actual tea...but there are still plenty of fruit infused black teas via Upton if that is "your cup of tea"! As long as you enjoy what you're drinking. So glad you like the dailies! Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  8. Well as I'm English you can guess that I can't cope without Tea. In fact I often say just put it straight in the vein. I can skip lunch or dinner, or both, just as long as I've had a cuppa for 3 on the way. I'm a weak tea person, so as well as the regular stuff, I also like Earl Grey, or Lady Grey, and lots of the fruit teas too. Strong tea here is often referred to a "builders tea" - ie strong enough to stand the spoon up in it - and builders cos any time you have any work done, you need to supply the tea, copious amounts of it.
    I've used tea to dye fabrics etc in the past, and had a collection of used tea bags too - but believe you can get the paper in large sheets, not to be confused with Teabag folding, which is actually decorative paper nodding to the days when loose tea was supplied in attractive packaging. Is it time to put the kettle on yet? I have one with a keep warm function!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beverley....yes, I'm in a bad sort if I start my day out with a bad cup of tea...or worse, no tea at all! I love that "builders tea" term and it perfectly describes the way I like it....not bitter, but definitely rich and full-bodied. But, I have to have cream in it too, which I forgot to mention.....yes, get the kettle on, by all means! Anca, in her comment above, listed a link for teabag supplies which I must check out. I'm also curious about the Teabag folding paper you mentioned! Enjoy!

      Delete
  9. Ahhhhh tea......yes, a cup in the morning to start the day and a cup in the afternoon for a break in the day. We have an English delicatessen in Nanaimo who imports an assortment of teas from all over the world.

    Scottish Breakfast tea is probably my favourite, especially with lots of milk and a bit of sugar. I also like a cup of Dilmah in the afternoon as it is much milder and more restful. The Dilmah tea bags go in the compost. I would give them to you if we lived closer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carole...I'm about to make an afternoon cup of tea! I, too, must have milk, although I don't use sugar. Must investigate the Scottish tea....I wonder if that is an Assam based tea as some of the other English Breakfast teas seems to be. And Dilmah....have not heard of that...something to check into! Cheers!

      Delete
  10. Hi Patti I am tardy with my comments but when I saw these little pieces I just went "Wow!" I drink green, jasmine and mint tea - bags and leaves depending on where I am; but alwaysbstartbwith my one coffee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Fiona....yes, bags and leaves depending upon the situation...one does have to remain somewhat flexible! I appreciate coffee as well, but find it more a once-in-a-while kind of thing from a fancy shop....although I do have to say that I make a might fine coffee ice cream!!! So glad you like the dailies! Hope you are having great fun in NYC!!

      Delete
  11. I'm a total tea freak as well, loose leaf only except when traveling. I get mine from Mariage Freres in Paris, since France is where I found out how good tea is and got hooked for life. I'm going to try Upton for my daughter--she's a budding tea drinker but prefers "builders tea" apparently. My delicate French blends don't cut it!
    Are these tea bag size works? Very charming...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow....tea from France! How is it different....I'm most curious!?
      Sounds from you're comment as if they are much more delicate....might not be the thing for me as I am clearly a builder's tea kind of gal! And, hope your daughter can get totally turned on to tea with an Upton catalog in her hand!! Yes, the works are teabag size (depending on the teabag...the one on the bottom is a fairly large teabag!) and mounted on 12" x 9" inch bristol board....they are in the center of the page, although what I've shown here is clearly cropped in closer. Thank you for the kind words!

      Delete
  12. By sheepish admission, I am a bag person myself, though I did briefly and long ago enter the whole world of brewed potsful of loose teas - and after reading this post I may have to start again! Such a difference between tea and coffee. I think of coffee as something to get the brain and body energized, and if it tastes good too that's a bonus - tea is more of a contemplative spiritual activity - one engages and relaxes with a cup of tea. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Gabriella....I do encourage your reinvestigation into tea....it has the brain and body energizing components as well as amazing taste! I think it drink it for the same reasons most folks drink coffee, which for me is just too strong tasting to have with food or any other accompaniment. Let me know what you discover!! Thanks for input....no need to feel sheepish!!!

    ReplyDelete

I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!