Nuka glaze originated in Japan many centuries ago, made with the ash from burnt rice hulls. These jars are perfect as tea caddies, and create an ideal environment for aging tea. The tight-fitting lid is designed to allow gas exchange. Both pu'er and oolong age smoothly, and more quickly than if they were sealed in airtight packaging.
Inge Nielsen reinterprets traditional Asian forms of teapots. Her work is informed by an inspiration that stems partly from years of living in China and Taiwan, as well as an admiration for Song dynasty aesthetics. On the potter’s wheel, this results in tight and controlled forms. She thinks of her pots as foils for traditional Chinese and Japanese glazes such as tenmoku, tea-dust, shino and celadon. When fired to around 1260 degrees Celsius in her gas kiln, some of these glazes show signs of “kiln mutation” (such as crystals, oilspot or carbon-trap), adding a playful and unique character to her pots.
Skillful manipulation of proportion, scale and functionality is an important quality in making gongfu tea-ware, but it is the firing that adds a soulful presence. Through the ceramic process and using the gas kiln, Inge negotiates a balance between the controlled and the haphazard, the raw and the refined.
“I love making small teapots, as they require a tight and technical skill to satisfy the individual needs of gongfu tea drinkers” says Inge. “Many of my pots are results of lengthy conversations with customers. I think it is wonderful that clay can bring together fellow tea lovers and potters.”
Inge is Danish. She learned pottery while living in Taipei. Currently she lives and works in Brussels, Belgium.