My little teapot



Getting together with my friends always has me in the best spirits whether it be for a movie or some chit chat over drinks and dessert.

I tend to classify my eating outings in the afternoon as "tea" which annoys my hubby as we don't always end up having tea but just juice or milkshake or something.
I've always liked the tinkling sound of the words "tea party". It makes me warm and fuzzy all over. I'm particularly fond of tea sets which come in a rainbow of colours and not the fanciful Victorian kind. (tea party illustration at the top by Blaze Danielle)
So, in my quest to paint these tea sets, I took up a porcelaine painting lesson and I'm guilty of not really practising but do you know how much a plain white porcelaine teapot and tea cup can cost? Don't raise an eyebrow if the salesperson cooly says a teapot is priced at RM80 and a tea cup and saucer at RM20. It's not just a plain white teapot, she will explain. It's made of porcelaine that can be put in microwave without causing an explosion. Ah! The type I'd go for, I'm thinking. Now guess how much a pot of paint is! You don't want to know!

Before I start my little tea-set painting business, I decided that I would put watercolour paintings up so that those interested can have an inkling of what kind of tea sets I can paint. It's much easier if the client buys her/his own tea set and commissions me to paint it as different people have different preferences for tea sets, some like round tea pots, some like them square ( you get the picture!)

But before that, here's a little history on tea and tea sets found in the Wikipedia website:

A tea set, in the Western tradition, is a suite of dishes sold in a group for use at afternoon tea or a formal tea party.

Tea sets vary greatly in quality and price, from inexpensive mass-produced items to high-end, limited edition items. The finest tea sets are made by well-known manufacturers of porcelain or bone china. Another opulent tea set is the silver tea service, a formal tea set with serving pieces made of sterling silver. Mass-produced sets in silverplate are found in more quantity. Because of costs, most holloware (serving pieces) are silverplate rather than sterling.

The accepted history[1] of the tea set begins in China during the Han Dynasty (206-220 B.C.). At this time, tea ware was made of porcelain and consisted of two styles: a northern white porcelain and a southern light blue porcelain. It is important to understand that these ancient tea sets were not the creamer/sugar bowl companions we know today. Rather, as is stated in a third century A.D. written document from China, tea leaves were pressed into cakes or bricks. These patties were then crushed and mixed with a variety of spices, including orange, ginger, onions, and flower petals. Hot water was poured over the mixture, which was both heated and served in bowls, not teapots. The bowls were multi-purpose, and used for a variety of cooking needs. In this period, evidence suggests that tea was mainly used as a medicinal elixir, not as a daily drink for pleasure's sake.

Historians believe the teapot was developed during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) An archaeological dig turned up an ancient kiln that contained the remnants of a Yixing teapot. Yixing teapots, called Zi Sha Hu in China and Purple Sand teapots in the U.S., are perhaps the most famous teapots. They are named for a tiny city located in Jiangsu Province, where a specific compound of iron ore results in the unique coloration of these teapots. They were fired without a glaze and were used to steep specific types of oolong teas. Because of the porous nature of the clay, the teapot would gradually be tempered by using it for brewing one kind of tea. This seasoning was part of the reason to use Yixing teapots. In addition, artisans created fanciful pots incorporating animal shapes.

The Song Dynasty also produced exquisite ceramic teapots and tea bowls in glowing glazes of brown, black, and blue. A bamboo whisk was employed to beat the tea into a frothy confection highly prized by the Chinese.
My simple illustrations of teapots and teacups. Items are packed in gift boxes.

Tea cup and saucer in pink, yellow and red (does not come with scones)
Price: RM45 per set

Tea pot, creamer jug, tea cup and saucer in blue, green and red
(tray not included)
Price: RM225 per set

Teapot, 2 cups and 2 saucers, 1 plate, 1 cream jar, 1 jam jar
(food, people, furniture and cat not included)
Price: RM285 per set

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