and Other Things About Tea
I still have the tea set I had as a little girl. The teapot is on display with my collection, and the rest of he set is stored away. I bought my first teapot as an adult in New York City's Chinatown. It's tan, with black characters, with six matching tea bowls. It has seen countless pots of tea. It was my only teapot for many, many years. Then I saw two teapots, within two days, in two different catalogs, and I knew I had to have them both. Both of these are tables, one set for tea, with a nice white tablecloth and the good china. The other is a "brown betty" dressed up in a ble checked tablecloth, and set for breakfast, with tea, boiled egg, and the morning paper.
I tried to fight the idea that I was collecting teapots, but the collection developed a life of its own. I have nearly 60 now. I try not to count too often. If it's a gift receiving occasion, at least two of the boxes will be teapots... I never have to buy them for myself, but I do anyway. Once I was Christmas shopping with my mother, and she told I didn't need anymore Christmas teapots. I agreed, "I really need more everyday ones."
Some of my teapots look like teapots, but most of them are in novelty shapes. I don't have the kitchen sink (yet), but I have the stove, the butcher block, several tables, china closets, and furnishings for other rooms as well. Cardew Teapottery makes wonderful teapots, and I have several in my collection. I don't have any of the ones pictured here (yet), but the Cat Got the Cream is calling loudly. Want to join the Cardew collectors club? My favorite designers include Paul Cardew, Martin and Judith Bibby, Richard Parrington and Tony Carter. Here's Judy and Martin Bibby at work. The Teapottery makes all kinds of fun teapots. (I have the bathtub and would love the bathroom sink.) Swineside Teapottery is also cool stuff. Warmark makes some cool teapots, too. Collectible Teapots sells teapots, and has a bridal registry I wish I would have known about 20 years ago, but I didn't even collect teapots then. Tudor House offers antique teapots for sale. Eventually, I hope to post some picture of my own teapots.
My favorite mail order source for teapots is The Collector's Teapot, P. O. Box 1193. Kingston, NY 12402. (1-800-724-3306) Their catalog is gorgeous. The best teapot shop I've found is Perenniel Tea Room, 1910 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101. (1-888-448-4054).
There's quite a few teapot people on the web. Tea til 8 is a personal homepage devoted to tea and more, with links to all kinds of things tea related. Kai Birger Nielsen collects tea caddies. He has made a very nice tea page, with links to many other web sites. Some of the information here includes a section on tea-drinking detectives.
Stash has had a popular mail order catalog for quite a while, and now they have a lot of cool stuff at their website. Here's a historical overview of the teapot from the Stash website. If you are serious about drinking tea, you might want to check out the Tea Vendor Home Page , with tea vendors, teapot vedors (including my favorite catalog "The Collectors Teapot", and even some listings if tea museums! The Way of Tea provides information on the different varieties of tea, on brewing tea, and other useful information.
Teaware has information on the Russian tea ceremony and a collection of samovars. GourmetWorld has information on the Japanese and Chinese tea ceremonies, and many other links too. Here's some information about a coffeetable book on teapots. And one called The Eccentric Teapot, my favorite kind. And after you have you're tea, here's how to tell your fortune.