Wednesday, December 1, 2010

May I offer you a cup of tea?









Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
inhaling ancient times and lands,
comfort of ages in our hands.

~ Faith Greenbowl


These teacups belonged to my mother-in-law, now deceased.  She stored them for years in a large, antique hutch with gleaming glass doors.  For her, they were purely decorative reminders of people and times gone by.  She never used  them for herself as she did not like tea.  In fact, she would scoff at the idea of tea, always insisting on a good cup of coffee.  These sweet, little cups still go unused - for while we enjoy tea, we drink it from bone china mugs.  I wonder how many of you still drink from a cup and saucer? 

On rare occasions when my daughter, who is a bit of a tea aficionado takes a notion, we will pull out some fine china tea cups and saucers and I have to admit that the tea does seem to taste better.  My mother refused to drink tea in anything but fine bone china and insisted her teapot be covered with a tea cozy to keep it warm.  I've burned my hand too many times lifting Mother's tea-cozy-covered teapot to continue the tradition.  I bet many of you don't even know what a tea cozy is!  Unless, of course, you are of British heritage as I am (Scottish and English).

I have been photographing many inherited antique items, stored at the back of cupboards, as still shots.  I then use the images to experiment with different effects in Photoshop.  Textures, filters and blending modes were added to these shots and the images were also desaturated purposefully during the work flow.  They do call up feelings of another era of elegantly dressed ladies, drawing rooms, refined conversation, delicate manners, cucumber sandwiches, shortbread, tiny teaspoons and whispered secrets, don't they?  

While from this distance those days can appear romantic, I much prefer to dress casually, wrap my hands around a warm mug, pull my feet up underneath me on a downy sofa with a soft afghan throw and a good book or a great friend for company.  What's better than that?! 

BTW, I have a nice china mug waiting for you.  Snuggle into that big chair close to the fire and stay a while, won't you?  Milk?  Lemon?  Sugar?  Tell me what you've been up to since we last talked..... Oh, you would prefer a freshly-brewed cup of coffee?  Guess what?  Me too! 





 




21 comments:

  1. Nice picture! I'll have mine by the window please.

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  2. Fun image transformation. It works well with the quotation. We only break out teacups and saucers for dinner parties. I prefer a mug of tea in the morning. My English in laws use teacups, pot and cozy at teatime daily. Thanks for treating me to virtual tea!

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  3. Oh, no, tea every time for me! And it definitely tastes better from a bone china cup, I can vouch for that. I've been drinking lots of tea today, and curling up next to the fire (well, radiator) with Leo Tolstoy, escaping the harsh winter chill outside. Indian tea, Earl Grey, green tea, herbal teas - I love them all. (I do like coffee too, but find just one, or perhaps two, a day enough.)

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  4. What a beautiful teacup. I don't think I've ever seen one with little feet. Makes the saucer seem a little redundant. I have three or four teacups and saucers I inherited from my grandmother too and, like you, I don't drink tea either. give me a good strong cup of coffee.

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  5. wow. that second one looks like an explosion in the tea cup...

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  6. Beautiful. I especially like the second image.

    I have a thing for pretty cups and saucers. We bring ours out when guests come for dinner, but we pour coffee in them, not tea. I drank tea daily in Istanbul for 3 years (çai), because it was what we did socially. But I don't enjoy it much and only drink it when I'm in a literary mood. ;) I have always been a bit envious of British tea time though, and I sort of get all googly eyed when I watch British films and they're pouring out.

    All that said, my favorite hot drink vessel is my hand thrown handle-less oversized mug. I love warming my hands on it every morning, with two fillings.

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  7. I enjoy a few cups of green tea every late afternoon prepared and served not in fine bone china but in earthy pottery. Works for me. I do like your informality of enjoyment as well.

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  8. Bagman and Butler: By the window it is. You can use the windowsill to rest your broken arm. :-(

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  9. Sarah: Yes, I too use the cups and saucers from my set of china for company. There is a time for a certain formality.

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  10. Hi Robert (Solitary Walker): I, too, enjoy Earl Grey (with scent of bergamot) and herbal teas. I sip white tea with chai in the afternoons. It is supposed to be full of immune boosters and antioxidants.

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  11. Hi Ellen: Oh, I do drink tea - all sorts - but prefer a good coffee. I try to limit my coffee drinking to breakfast - but am not always successful. Coffee, I understand, has its health benefits too.

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  12. Hi Brian: Is it too much? I like that one - it is a textured peony superimposed over the teacup.

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  13. Ruth: I like the second image too. I pretty much follow the same routine for hot beverages that you describe.

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  14. Hi Paul: I'm doing white tea, while you are doing green. I read that white has even more health benefits than green. It tastes yummy too.

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  15. i like coffee in tiny sweet tea cups. the lip on the edge of a teacup is so thin, old lady like and pursed. it renders the usual voluminous quantities of stimulants i ingest into a smaller tastier gentler form. steven

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  16. Hi steven: The vehicle/recepticle we use to carry our food or drink really does make a difference in how we consume and enjoy it, doesn't it?

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  17. I prefer a big cup of tea - I drink it like the British - with cream and sugar - please!

    You described a great place on a cold afternoon, snuggled up under a blanket on a comfy couch with a cup of tea and a good book. Throw in a roaring fire and I'd be in heaven!

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  18. Isn't that lovely!

    We had a tea party for hubby birthday. We had so much fun!

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  19. I'm sure you also know the social significance of tea time, how it was an event, drinking tea at a certain time or in certain company was just proper. I like that you maintain the tradition of cup and saucer, but have a more personal, relaxed reason for drinking it. Tea is such great therapy. I'm excited to have a tea set of my own. I've grown up around tea sets and china myself, having rich British heritage.

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  20. What a cozy post. And of course I know what a tea cozy is.. I've just never used one. It's true, I've rarely used tea pots, opting for an individual cup instead but I sure do like the feel of this post. Pour me a hot one, please.

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  21. The photographic treatment of the tea cups places them where they are--heirlooms from another era. Lovely. I have my mom's collection along with the matching dessert plates, (and recall being dragged all over the place searching for the plate she was missing for some cup and saucer). I do use them when entertaining as my mom did. I love my mug, but I love history too.

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