"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Leaf of the Day: Tea Leaf and Seed Pod

A small, new, tea leaf and a seed pod, just splitting open to reveal a fat round seed inside. A drawing for Pedro who took me to see the tea plants at Leu Gardens the other day. I have to admit I didn't really know what a tea plant looked like, despite years of seeing the PG tips lady picking tea on the box, and I had no idea it was one of the camellia family, camellia sinensis. Shame on me, the amount of tea I drink. This leaf is new and bright green with a reddish stem and smooth edges whereas the older leaves are slightly toothed and much darker green.
This pod has two seed chambers where others have three. I will be making a few more drawings as they are delightful shapes. The young leaves (top 2 and the bud) are harvested, rolled and fermented (oxidised) before they find their way to the teapot as black tea. Green tea is made with unfermented leaves. Amazing! The regular supermarket tea is not very good here. It's very weak and each bag is individually wrapped with an annoying tag, but at least we have not had it served to us with salt water yet.

This funny little drawing started as I was trying to balance the pod and leaf on the top of a couple of pieces of paper torn out of a sketchbook which were propped up on my drawing board. I thought they looked nice just as they were so that's how I drew them.
I have just had a memory of tea chests, weren't they wonderful?
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Tea leaf and Seed Pod


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