Vaclav Havel (1936-2011), playwright, poet, political dissident and president of the Czech Republic, was several times imprisoned between 1970 and 1989. In this period of extreme solitude he had time to read a lot of books and to think about philosophical themes such as the relationship between human identity and immortality. He wrote letters to his wife Olga* from his cell in which he described the discomfort, his pains and sickness under the unhealthy conditions in prison. But in spite of everything there was one thing that could give him a feeling of harmony and mental balance he wrote and that was making tea by himself. The daily cup of Earl Grey gave him solace and a little sense of freedom. And as he wrote on the 27th of October 1980, he don’t made tea only for himself, but in order to survive, in his thoughts he actually made tea symbolic for his love Olga, for his family, his friends, for outsiders, for the world.

Today, I have also made Earl Grey. Earl Grey is a blend of black tea, flavoured with oil of the rind of the bergamot orange. It’s a pretty pithy tea with a pronounced citrus taste.

He is named after Lord Charles Grey the 2nd, British Prime Minister in the 1830s. A legend tells how the blend was created by accident when a gift for Charles Grey of tea and bergamot oranges were shipped together from China to England and the fruit flavour was absorbed by the tea during shipping.

While I’m sitting here, look out of the window, hold my new mug in my hands and enjoy my tea, I'm thinking of my love, my family, friends and the entire world.

Photo’s and text: Iris Weichler
Ceramic mug (stoneware): Iris Weichler
* Letters to Olga, by Vaclav Havel



Japanese tea ceremony or chanoyu is a beautiful and serene way for preparing matcha, the green powder tea
But the complex ritual goes far beyond the simple drinking of tea

It’s an attidude, an experience
It’s a matter of elegance and gratitude

A Japanese tea ceremony is like to step into a still life

The equipment for a Japanese tea ceremony is quite comprehensive
Each object  has a very specific use and a role in the ceremony and it should invite to be touched
It controls the sequence of actions during the ceremony

Making tea is nothing less than playing with time and space
and appreciating the beauty of the moment 

Like the last summer fruit that hangs patiently to mature, enjoying his own quiet life

Here I show the ceramic objects that I’ve made to prepare matcha.

Clockwise, starting left in the middle: teacaddy for matcha, kensui (the waste water jar), mizusashi (the lidded container for fresh cold water) and the chawan (teabowl)

Photo’s and text: Iris Weichler
Ceramic objects (stoneware): Iris Weichler



What makes the difference between the several teas?

The way in which the teaplant grows, the way of picking the leaves, the subsequent editing process of the tea
However, the perception of the tea depends on the intention with which we brew him
We need to make an appointment with ourselves, respect the rules, set priorities, take time, choose a suitable tea set

Then it can make a difference
Making tea can be a small daily ritual, a moment of pleasure and harmony

Enjoying a Taiwanese High Mountain Oolong tea, I observe the bees around me, their dedication during their activity

And quietly I hope that  the fresh and  floral taste of the tea gives me wings


Photo’s and text: Iris Weichler
Teapot, teacup, presentation plate (stoneware): Iris Weichler



On a windy morning in may, I step into my herb garden and pick a few leaves of lemon verbena Aloysia triphylla
It is a fresh, aromatic herb, with a strong taste of lemon and in that way, great for making tea

Originally, this herb comes from South-America, specifically from Chile and Argentina
It is also known as Lemon Luisa or Yerba Louisa, because the plant was named after Marie Louisa, Princess of Parma (1748-1819), who became Queen of Spain. In the eighteenth century, the Spaniards brought the plant to Europe, where it meanwhile can grow perfectly, provided protection in winter

The tea set that I wanted to make for such kind of teas, had to be simple in shape and colour, equally fresh and light as the herbal infusion

The inspiration came with the wind
a downy feather landed next to me on my garden bench
for a brief moment
lost by a bird, just in dialogue with the wind

Actually, It is the lightness of this moment that I want to capture with my ceramics
Clay, at some point released by my hands, just in dialogue with the tea
and when I'm drinking, I can taste the stories that they tell each other

Photo’s and text: Iris Weichler
Teapot, honey pot, teacup with small plate, small dish (handmade stoneware): Iris Weichler



Today I leave seduce me by a Pu Erh tea, a Chinese fermented, pressed tea of 2002.
Especially by preparing and drinking Pu Erh, you can create a total experience, even more intense than other tea. 
I catch the scent of the tea while I unfold the paper, behold the beautiful shape of the cake and break the tea very carefully with soft power. While I’m waiting till the tea is ready, he tells me his life story on the basis of his rich colour and  intense fragrance

After a first encounter, I decided to make a teapot for Pu Erh. When I kneaded the clay, I remembered a deep aroma of plum that I’ve tasted. When the potter’s wheel was running, it was like I ‘m walking through an orchard of plum trees. With the very rich tradition of Chinese teapots in my mind, I wanted to make one for here and now, even elegant and smooth as the tea itself.

The knotted string which links the lid with the handle is a traditional use; It prevents that the lid of the teapot falls. Moreover you can hold the teapot without burning your fingers.
I would like to thank my oldest son, who helped me with the string. He is very skilled in that sort of thing.

There she was at my feet.  Slow but firm she continues her way
Equally slow like a snail, this tea needs time to mature

The slowness of things makes me realize that I too need time to create
Slow but firm I continue my way
Photo's and text: Iris Weichler
Teapot, teacups and plate (stoneware): Iris Weichler
The sisal string is made by Casper Teirlinck