Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tea on Thursday 16 : Momordica

sliced centre of Momordica fruit 

Momordica tea - I must admit I had not heard of it until I met a fellow traveller in China recently, and she told me about it. In fact, rather than try to describe it, she sourced some for me  in Sydney and sent me some to try. 
Momordica fruit 
 Here is a description of the fruit , summarised from the Life Rising Tea website  and Wikipedia  
The  Momordica or "lo han kuo" is a small gourd-like fruit having an intensely sweet taste, widely used by the South Chinese as a household remedy for colds, sore-throat, and minor stomach and intestinal troubles. In the early fall, Momordica fruit is yellowish-red and found in the south of China. Naturally sweet and delicious. Momordica has been nicknamed "longevity fruit" in China because it is believed that prolonged consumption will result in a long life. The fruit's shape is said to imitate the belly of a Buddha and its   names include arhat fruit, Buddha fruit and monk fruit. The fruit is sometimes mistaken for the purple mangosteen, but these fruits are unrelated.  The interior fruit is eaten fresh, and the bitter rind is used to make tea.
Momordica fruit 
 Momordica fruit - inside 
 As the three fruits I had were all dried, I made tea.  I had no idea of what quantities, so I used just one fruit rind for a large cup and steeped it for about five minutes and strained it.  I quite enjoyed the tea - it was slightly sweet but obviously  did not really have the taste of tea leaves. I then  wrapped some eucalypt leaves and some of the fruit rind in cloth and boiled it for a couple of hours. Although the tea was a rich golden colour, the resulting “dye” was a little disappointing.
Momordica rind wrapped in cotton fabric 
Momordica tea and eucalypt leaves  - eco dyed cotton and silk. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Willow Pattern Revisited

This is the Willow Pattern we are most familiar with - a traditional  chinaware design  by Thomas Minton in 1790, popularised for at least the next 200 years. Thinking back to the old poem about the Willow Pattern, 

Two birds flying high,
A Chinese vessel, sailing by.
A bridge with three men, sometimes four,
A willow tree, hanging o'er.
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands.
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song

I discovered that some of my photos taken recently in China reminded me of  a contemporary Willow Pattern scene. As I am not a skilled photographer by any stretch of the imagination, I have tried to turn two very rather ordinary photos into modern versions of the Willow Pattern - well at least, elements of the Willow Pattern. 

1. Original Image - Wild Goose Pagoda , Xian , China 
 2. Sepia tint 
 3. Blue tint  
4. Blue tint  with white background . 
5 Blue and white tint with mirror frame 
6. Blue and white tint with HDR (high dynamic range ) 

7. I call this the tea towel effect - but it is really the panographic effect. 
Here is the one I prefer ....
1.   original image -  West lake, Hangzhou , China 
2. Blue tint 
3. Panographic effect - landscape 
4. Panographic effect - portrait 
 Willow Pattern - old and new .... Tag on tag - double gift tag,
  digital image on  photo paper and  photocopy on cardboard with  Chinese character wooden beads and baker's twine 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tea on Thursday 15 - Tea Aged

This has really very little to do with tea,  but tea was used in its creation.... 
This is a tag I created for another blog group, Tag Tuesday which had as its theme this week, The 1950s. 
I was born in 1950 and devoid of any imagination this week, I decided to use a photo of myself about 5 months old - the photo was taken at City Studios in Townsville, Queensland, on 1 November 1950. I have used a photocopy of my original birth certificate ( reduced in size)  as the background.  I scanned the original photo and printed it then covered it with tea bag paper to give it an aged 64 year old look. One of the embellishments is a motif that I tatted and dyed with tea. The tatting is not so fantastic, but I think tatting is one of the domestic arts which was more popular in the 1950s so I thought it was appropriate. The string is also dyed with tea! And so, here is my example of how I used tea bag paper and tea to give an aged look to newly created items.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tea on Thursday 14 : Water Feature

What other sort of water feature would you expect to find at a tea plantation?  This tea pot "fountain" is one of the courtyard attractions at the Longjing tea plantation, in Hangzhou, China.  And while most gardens might boast of  a few gnomes or classical statues, here, there is a statue of  a renowned Tang Dynasry tea scholar Yu Lu and of course a few more tea pots leading into the tea tasting rooms.