• Inge Nielsen + Mud&Leaves

    Inge Nielsen is a name that will need little introduction for many tea lovers. A Danish potter working in Brussels, Inge studied pottery in Taipei. She makes a variety of stoneware vessels, but has become known primarily for her teaware - beautiful and functional pieces sized perfectly for Chinese tea sessions.

    We have long been admirers of her art and were very happy to be able to showcase her work here at Mud&Leaves. We were also very interested in her process, and Inge was kind enough to discuss it with us.

  • Wood Fired Nixing

    With the advent of gas and electric kilns, wood kilns, with their more labour and resource intensive requirements, were increasingly seen as impractical and obsolete. By the 1970s and 1980s gas and electric kilns replaced wood kilns in the industry in Nixing. While gas and electric kilns still dominate the industry, there has been a recent rekindling of interest in the traditional wood firing process. The kiln described below is the one used to fire our wood fired Nixing teapots and is one of less than a handful of large wood kilns still operating in Nixing today.
  • No.4 Mine Benshan Lüni

    The No.4 Mine in Huanglong Mountain opened in 1972 and closed in 1997. The mine sits on the southwest side of the mountain. The mine penetrates deeper than most into the mountain, in some spots reaching as deep as 80m. A report from 1987 shows that only 0.012% of the ore mined at the time contained lüni.
  • Seasoning an Yixing Teapot

    One of the first things that you will read about Yixing Teapots is that they “season” with use.

  • Don't Boil that Teapot!

    Before first using a new Yixing Teapot, there are a few short steps that should be taken, and a few simple rules to follow to keep the pot in good condition for future tea sessions.
  • Yixing Teapot Pairing or Which Tea for which teapot?

    We always recommend trying a new teapot with as many different kinds of tea as possible. You may be surprised by what goes well with a certain kind of clay.

  • The Sound of an Yixing Teapot

    Can you tell if an Yixing Teapot is real by banging the lid against the body? What does a real Yixing Teapot sound like? Should zhuni ring like a bell?
  • Making Chinese Lacquerware Teacups.

    The lacquer is made using sap from the Chinese lacquer tree (Toxicodendron vernicifluum, also known as Japanese sumac and varnish tree). After filtering and heat treating, the sap is mixed with pigments and applied as layers of varnish to the outside of the cups. The video above shows each step in this process. 
  • Achieving blue, white and red: Jihong and Qinghua Porcelain

    A deep yet brilliant red, Jihong is one of the classic glaze colors of Jingdezhen. Although the ingredients in the recipe are known, the difficulty of firing this glaze has meant that many porcelain studios choose an easier, more modern recipe to achieve a red glaze. Porcelain pieces that are made with the original glaze recipe for jihong are known as "fanggu" porcelain for their adherence to the original recipe.
  • 4 Famous Clays of China

    In 1953, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Chinese government classified Four Major Clays, they are Yixing Zisha, Qinzhou Nixing Clay, Jianshui Zitao, and Chongqing Rongchang Clay.

    Some of these clays, such as zisha (Yixing Clay), have enjoyed more attention. Each has its own history and uses. Below is a very brief description outlining the basic history, differences between these four famous clays, and what they are most often used for in China. 

  • What is Heini? Wuhui and Black Yixing Teapots

    (Originally published March 26, 2020) If you’re looking at a “Heini” 黑泥 (Black Clay) Yixing Teapot, chances are you’re looking at a teapot that h...
  • Tian Qing Ni Part 2: From Clay to Teapot

    After being shaped by the potter, Tian Qing Ni teapots go through the same final steps in production as other Yixing Teapots. They are first left to dry out thoroughly before being fired in the kiln. "Tian Qing Ni" can be translated as azure or sky-blue clay. It might seem like a strange name for a clay that is perhaps best described as being “dark liver" in appearance in finished teapots. The name makes more sense when you see the raw ore and unfired clay.