233826a67be66a810b23a263230da62e_XLI’m often approached to sample tea or tea ware to review for T Ching.  I recently got an intriguing email from Robin Hamm who had a proposal that I just couldn’t resist.  Robin is the creator of Rochester Glassworks in Rochester N.Y. where he’s embarking on a journey to change the way we drink tea.  We’ve all noticed in recent years the advent of double-walled glass tea cups and tea pots.  Who doesn’t love them? Robin helps to explain how they first came to market for tea.

“Tea aficionados and teaware collectors alike have for centuries enjoyed beautifully decorated and designed white ware ceramic cups and pots primarily made from stoneware, porcelain and bone china. Yet they have been largely denied the ability to enjoy the beauty of glass as a vessel of choice for their taste. Why? Because until the invention of “Pyrex” glass (a trademark for borosilicate glass) vessels were unable to withstand the extreme range of temperatures involved in brewing and serving piping hot tea.”

Robin takes glass a step further however by developing artistic borosilicate tea ware.  Now that certainly got my attention.  It was his idea to work with glass artists and help to evolve this inspirational idea and that’s what he and his partner James Byrnes, a glass artisan, have done with yet another creative feature.

Robin says, “‘Atelier’ is the French word for workshop. In English it’s primarily used to describe a workshop dedicated to the fine or decorative arts containing artists working together producing similar pieces. A “virtual” Atelier is a totally new concept in which each artist works in their own facility, using their own tools and materials, while participating in a virtual community of their peers, having their work actively marketed to established networks of interested patrons.” Essentially, artists get to do what they love and do best,  which is creating beautiful art, leaving the promotion and marketing to Rochester Glassworks. 

I think Robin said it best when he concluded, “How does this story of ‘creativitea’ end?  Renaissance workshop goes digital, creating 21st  century tea ware using 20th century materials, based on both modern and traditional cultural forms for patrons located across the world while helping artists get paid fairly for their work. Tea lovers will make the final decision about our concept, and we want to know each and every one of them so we can provide an experience that exceeds their expectations from start to finish.  We want our patrons and artisans to know we’re here for them in every way.”

Join me next week as I walk you through the process of creating my very own art glass tea cup.  It was an amazing experience that I hope many of you will want to do as well to flex your creative muscles.  I’ve always considered myself a frustrated artist of sorts.  I routinely get lots of creative ideas running around in my head but my actual artistic abilities to bring them to fruition are unfortunately limited.  This has handicapped me over the years and quite frankly discouraged my creative endeavors in a physical sense.  Having an artist to consult/partner with on a design of my choice, with on-going feedback from the artist who will be creating the tea cup, has been a unique and exciting, creative experience.

 Image courtesy of Rochester Glassworks.