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JMGore

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  1. JMGore

    My Recent Job For A Teashop

    Yep... take a closer look at the first post in this thread, and you'll find the URL. There are also dozens of other shops selling similar teas, no doubt... they just don't have my photography - Matthew Gore
  2. JMGore

    My Recent Job For A Teashop

    You're right... you definitely have to know what you're doing to get decent photos on a pure white background. If you use your camera's meter, it will generally be fooled by all of the white (or otherwise very light) area, and expose it towards a middle grey, which will in turn push the dark tones of the tea down into the zones that are too dark to show much detail. The trick is to over-expose, and allow the highlights to actually blow out where there isn't supposed to be any detail. I literally spent 3 or 4 years looking for a kyusu that I really liked before I spent the cash on this one. I even had a local potter try to make one for me. I was happy when I found this one It does have a lightweight mesh screen around the whole interior, and although I've never tried, it looks as though it might be replaceable. - Matt
  3. JMGore

    My Recent Job For A Teashop

    Sorry... the shop is called "Everything Tea", in Snohomish, WA. Their website is http://www.everythingtea.net This is also the shop that sold me my favorite kyusu teapot about a year ago, which I'm sure I've posted here before... - Matt
  4. JMGore

    My Recent Job For A Teashop

    Over the past few weeks, I've been working for a teashop in Snohomish, WA... doing some website work, but primarily taking product photos for their online catalog (I'm a photographer by trade). What fun! To this point, I've photographed over 400 types of tea, most of them loose. The great part is, of course, that I get to try any tea that I want. In fact, after each tea is photographed (only about 1tsp is used at a time), it would otherwise be thrown away. I couldn't just allow all of that tea to go to waste. Unfortunately, I was photographing large groups of teas at a time (50 teas per hour, roughly)... so trying each one wasn't really practical. And in fact, I don't really have any interest in trying most of the flavored teas or herbals. But I did get a chance to try several teas that were new and interesting to me. I also learned a fair amount about green pu-erhs. The resident tea expert at the store was a pu-erh fiend, and although I had previously avoided the whole genre in the past, I found that there are some really exquisite ones out there. Anyway, since my photos are just standard catalog photos, there's not thing particularly interesting about them... but I thought I'd post a couple. If you'd like to see all of them, feel free to take a look at http://www.everythingtea.net ; I'm sure the owners will be happy to have the extra traffic. Thought this was interesting... pu-erh sold in its bamboo aging basket. One of the pu-erhs that I tried and found to be quite good. Even though I'm not really a fan of flavored teas, some of them were still pretty to photograph. Usually I like lightly oxidized oolongs (typically high mountain oolongs from Taiwan), but this Dan Cong was also really good, and not like others that I have tried. Anyway, I just had to share this experience with someone else who would appreciate the splendor of the thing I'm going to make sure that I work exclusively for Tea Shops in the future! As Ever, J. Matthew Gore
  5. The fake stuff actually is pretty cheap... more along the $30-60 per lb. range. Still more than its worth, IMHO. - Matt
  6. Since someone mentioned it... Keep your eye out for fake Milk Oolong! I got some last winter from a local teaseller, and have since found it at the two Teashops on either side of Pike Place Market in Seattle (one a block north, one a block south... same company). When I found it at the shop near Pike Place the first time, the owner (who was knowledgeable and friendly) came clean and said that it was flavored. The second time (at the other shop), the person working there checked the packaging which claimed that it was not flavored. Unfortunately, for Oolong to pick up the creamy flavor that these companies are trying to imitate, the tea must be grown in very rare weather conditions at high altitude, and the tea that results is incredibly expensive. I tasted some about 2 years ago, a competition tea that is rarely found outside of Taiwan (or inside Taiwan for that matter). It was too expensive for me... nearly $300 for a 200g container. Probably the best tea that I've ever tasted, though. On the other hand, most of the "Milk" oolongs that are sold seem to be flavored. Since the flavoring is applied to the dry tea, it's not hard to test. If you hold a spoonful of the leaves in your hand for a minute or two, the smell will linger on your hand for the rest of the day, even after thorough washing (in my case, anyway). Further, you can rinse the tea in cold water... this will not brew the tea at all, so even though there's no tea flavor, there will be flavor and fragrance from the "Milk" flavoring. If you like the stuff, I guess there's no reason that you shouldn't drink it... especially since it's not very expensive. Personally, I find that the flavoring really overpowers the tea and it stained one of my yixing teapots for weeks (with fragrance). - Matthew
  7. JMGore

    Let's See Your Teaware!

    That's a pretty great tray... where did you get it?
  8. JMGore

    Let's See Your Teaware!

    Thanks Diane, and I'll have you know that I went to college in Ohio! It wasn't anywhere near Cleveland (OU in Athens), but my roommate was from Hudson/Aurora. - Matt
  9. JMGore

    Let's See Your Teaware!

    I use the kyusu whenever I drink green tea, regardless of type... but I don't actually drink green tea very often anymore. I also use it for white teas (silver needle), I guess. My green tea drinking is pretty limited to what I can get in the ID (international district, aka Chinatown) in Seattle, and I usually buy sencha, kuki cha, and in the winter, genmai cha (if that's how it's spelled!). There's also an organic Chinese green tea that I buy on occasion. I'm a much bigger fan of high mountain oolongs! In any case, the pewter encased yixing teapot is just one of a pair that I have. This is the other: After posting a photo of this pot with a stock agency (I'm a photographer), I got an email from a British collector who loved it and wanted more information about it and any others that I might have, and after I replied, I got this bit of information: The second pot in the shape of a bamboo stem is on a par with the first. I recognise the signature at once as Shi Mei which is the hao or nickname for Zhu Jian probably the best known name associated with these pots. I can't quite see the first character but the crucial two are quite clear. Both should have a seal on the base of the inside of the pot though in these they are often made on an applied piece of clay and all too frequently either come off in the firing or through use. They are a real challenge to photograph. If they are still present I would love to see what they are as it should tell you who made the pots, the signature on the outside is usually the person who inscribed the poem not the maker. The general design of these has a poem on the left side, ie when viewed with the handle to the right and spout to the left, and the reverse with a picture or sometimes another poem frequently in seal script. It is not uncommon to find one side engraved by a different scholar from the other since many of these pieces where collaborative works between scholar and potter and frequently commissioned by a third party who designed the shape. For this reason it is useful to see both sides of the pot. We emailed for a few more times about them, and I got a better idea of their value. The poet who wrote the inscription on this teapot is still unknown (to me), but I got this information about the teapot itself: The seal comes as no surprise as they are two different variants of the potter Yang Pengnian who is credited with the best pieces. I say this with care since he was also capable of turning out some pretty junky ones too but heck we all have to make a living and not everyone wants to pay over the odds for perfection. The handle is more of an enigma, not helped by the fact that the two characters are in archaic oracle bone script which is pretty impenetrable. If I have any luck I will let you know. So, of course, I have photos of all of the relevant details, but I've probably already given more detail here than anyone cares about It was interesting to me, though, since I didn't know anything about pewter encased yixing pots to begin with, despite having found a couple of very nice ones! - Matt
  10. JMGore

    Let's See Your Teaware!

    I don't have photos of most of my teaware at the moment; I suppose that's something that I'd better change! I do have photos of a few of my favorite teapots, though. I own three kyusu teapots, one of them was a cheap mass produced model, another is hand-made earthenware, and finally, there's this one: I got this one at a small shop in Snohomish, WA, and it was expensive, but I've been very happy with it. It feels great in my hand, and the teapot itself works flawlessly. Here's one of my antique teapots, which is clay covered in pewter. I didn't know much about it until someone from England saw it on the internet and volunteered some information about it. Needless to say, it's been retired! I'm new at this forum, and looking forward to being a member here! - Matthew
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