Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yixing by way of the Czech Republic

If you keep up with Petr Novak's Pots and Tea blog then you would have heard about these.  Much better to read Petr's words about it here and here, but (in a nutshell) he was given some Zi Ni clay by way of a tea friend, who got the clay by way of a potter in Yixing.  Petr worked his magic with the clay and produced a small number of teapots, of which I consider myself very lucky to be the owner of one.
In the last month or two I've been using this little "Czech-xing" teapot almost exclusively.  It's a great size for me, at around 100ml.  One of the first things I noticed was how it took to the tea almost immediately.  Other yixing pots often take a bit of time to season enough to where it feels like there's balance, but this teapot had very little of that awkward phase.  I'm eager to see how it continues to develop with more use.
Another feature I like is that the vent hole on the lid is located someplace *other* than the top middle of the knob.  I like to pour with one hand, placing my finger on the lid knob to keep it in place.  Although I've learned to adjust my finger placement just off the top of the knob (thanks to the many pots I have with the holes right on top) it's nice to not have to worry about that.  The handle of the pot is also very comfortable.  My finger fits in it perfectly, and the flattened width of it makes for a confident hold.
And then, there's just the humble beauty of it.  The rough texture of the surface, the fire-kissed subtle iridescence to the color, the little mark on the side of the body, probably from sitting too close to something in the kiln.  In the dim light of an early morning tea session the steam from the water seems to gather and cling to the rough skin of the pot, leaving it shrouded in a swirling fog.  I've tried again and again to get a decent photo of that sight, but its proving to be the ultimate elusive shot.  I've pretty much given up on photographing it, and now just sit back to enjoy the show.