Glamorosi Named as Winner of the Verdant “Tea as Art” Contest

For Verdant Tea’s Tea as Art contest the company sent entrants samples of their Hand Picked Spring 2011 Tieguanyin Oolong, a sweet, creamy, buttery tea from China. The instructions were to brew the tea, then create a piece inspired by it.

My entry was the handmade bronze chainmaille and green aventurine “Oolong Bracelet” shown at the bottom of this post. I decided to weave chainmaille because just like growing and preparing tea, it is an ancient art. To represent part of the process used to make oolong tea I chose bronze, a metal that becomes even more beautiful as it oxidizes. To indicate the Tieguanyin Oolong's distinct color I used green aventurine stone beads from China. To read more about the how the piece developed, click here.

I didn’t review the tea online or mention how much I loved it in my entry because I didn’t want it to seem like I was fishing for votes. Now that the judging is over I will tell you: the third steeping of Verdant Tea’s Tieguanyin was the best cup of tea I had in 2011, and it was the best oolong I have *ever* tasted. It smells like honeysuckle and tastes like happiness.

And happiness it is! On September 4th I got an email from Verdant Tea. When I saw, “Dear Participants in the Tea as Art Contest” I said to my husband, “I didn’t win or it would say 'Congratulations' in the subject line". I got a huge surprise when I opened the email and read, "The winner of the Verdant Tea as Art Contest and recipient of the $100 shopping spree on is: Glamorosi for her Chainmaille Bronze and Aventurine Bracelet”. I won first prize! To see the full announcement and all of the entries click here.

I’m not going to pretend I was laid back about it – I was cheering and running around the room. Woooooo!

I knew exactly what I would choose as my prize. All through the judging period I kept visiting the Calligraphic Hongni Yixing pot (shown above) on Verdant Tea’s website. Yixing (pronounced “ee shing”) pots are sought after by oolong devotees, and I have wanted one for ages. The small vessels are made from clay that is not glazed or sealed in any way, so the pots evolve over time, changing color and gaining a sheen from absorbing tea oil. They also absorb the flavor of the tea, so it is customary to only brew one kind of tea in a Yixing pot.

My pot is made from Hongni (say "hohng nee", with a long "o") clay with a water scene carved into one side, and a poem written in Chinese on the other. David Duckler, who was a scholar in China before he founded Verdant Tea, was kind enough to translate for me. The poem has several interpretations, the main one being: "A person closed in like a dark forest can never know the moon." I think it is lovely.

Thank you to Verdant Tea for a wonderful experience. Here are some fun links:
  • You can view all of the Yixing pots offered by Verdant Tea here.
  • An article about David Duckler and how Verdant Tea was born here.
  • My win mentioned in (my husband) A.D. Amorosi's column in Philadelphia City Paper here. I'm on page two.
Stop back for these new posts coming soon:
  • A report and photos from the World Tea East convention
  • My new favorite restaurant
  • New earring designs (Spring 2012 preview)

Yixing pot and tea photos courtesy of Verdant Tea
Oolong Bracelet photo by Glamorosi

To read more posts about food, tea, fashion, gardening and events:

♥ ♥ ♥