Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A new, finer 'lotus' qingbai porcelain by David Louveau de la Guigneraye

During my last visit to France, 2 years ago, I visited David Louveau and we started designing a cracked white tea set for shu puerh. Then came a qingbai set for young sheng puerh. These first two sets were a new beginning for David Louveau. He had had Japanese and Korean inspirations for his pottery, but this was his first time exploring the Chinese roots of teaware.

So, these first 2 puerh sets helped him make a transition from a certain roughness towards more finesse. During these 2 years, David experimented with various clays and glazes to achieve the thin walls and flower shapes we had agreed on.

I received his latest qingbai lotus set just before I left for France. This time, he used porcelain with a single glazing with a stunning result.

The cups are so thin! Even with their stand, they still feel light in your hand. Made by hand, each is a little different from the other, but David is managing to keep these differences small.

The lotus bowl he sent me was so thin that it broke in 3 pieces on its way to Taiwan. That's why I'm bringing another home to Taiwan (tomorrow). Shipping these fragile items will mean extra care...

David also told me a fascinating story about these 'lotus' stands. We designed them with 5 incisions so that they look like petals. Amazingly, during their making, they even acted like flowers: as the porcelain dried, the petals tended to close and once in the oven, they opened up again! (He'll try to take pictures of this phenomenon, he promised.)

This thin porcelain is now a good fit for even fresh, unroasted Oolong.

David added a new item to this set: a small stand for the lid of the teapot.

He didn't make a plate to observe the dry (and wet) leaves ; I added one from a previous celadon production of his here. He ran out of time to make one with this set, but promised to make some soon.

The first passionate tea friend I showed this new set decided to keep it! He will exhibit/use it in his art gallery, giving more people the chance to see it with their own eyes!

This kind of cooperation and result is what makes me extremely happy about my tea blog. It enables me to meet wonderful artists who follow my wishes and make teaware inspired by China's rich past. The alternative is all too often either mass manufactured teaware that lacks personality, or artist pieces that are so full of character or so stylish that they are not functional or harmonious.

David Louveau has managed to give life to these these timeless, classic shapes. They combine beauty and function with the light touch of handmade wares.

Drinking tea with elegance and style.

A Yuan dynasty inspired shape for the modern world! We are nomads in search of rest and peace!

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