March 08, 2016

So much has happened the past few months. The holidays were a whirlwind of incoming products: beautiful ceramics by Sarah Wolf, Katie VonLehman, vintage Japanese items, The Granite, Mondays (from Brooklyn) and more. Sweets, jams, chocolates and teas arrived along with new wholesale accounts and curious faces in my tiny studio storefront. Selling quilts and Shaker boxes (there are still a few left if you’re interested) was a thrill in the fall and early winter and I’m so happy to have shared these handmade treasures from British woodworker Ryan Quince, Meg Callahan and Louise Gray. That show sold out mostly, and now it's winter in the tea gallery with a group show from American artists, east coast to west coast that I call "Concealment." This show feeds my soul daily, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such creative spirit.

I was so busy, (I’m still mostly a one woman operation) I barely had time to realize there was a snowstorm brewing or that the cold I always fear had already penetrated my bony physique. Then the holidays simmered down, I got caught up on paperwork and realized we were in the dark short days of winter. With 2016 approaching like the whipping winds of the Columbia Gorge and a deep exhaustion filling my body and soul, I was in need of rest and quiet. I hunkered down at home with fires, family and food. Six days into the New Year and I was still in hiding, like a torpor in need of its annual darkness.

All of that hibernation got me thinking deeply about winter and darkness and what it all means. Growing up in Southern California, this season was not familiar, and, that first Portland winter of 2006, clutching my newborn baby and resisting all change upon me, I was surprised by its relentless extremes: the moodiness, the long stretches of wet and grey, the lull of growth (except for my little baby boy), with little promise too far off. I got through it with tea, friendship, family and my curiosity of new horizons. My view from ten floors up of the waterfront flowering cherry trees assured me every March that sunny bright days were ahead. (It just takes a long time here in the Pacific Northwest, but it's worth the wait.)

And now, more than a decade later, I wanted to analyze this sense of concealment, solitude and quiet. I read and researched this idea of concealment and used these ideas to curate a small group show in the tea gallery based on this interesting time when everything feels quite literally dead, yet not truly dead, just dormant…in hiding. I invited Veronica Martin, a friend and poet, to read her work and lure us out of our stucco wooden caves. It was a fantastic day at the shop/gallery. So many new faces, awestruck with Martin’s words. Read more of her work here: or on her website.

We can’t see what is concealed. And truly, there is so much going on underground and inside. It’s not as if anything has really stopped, it’s just taking a break. (Every being, every living thing should do this, in my opinion.) And then, the markers of life arrive. They always do, and, every time, I’m taken aback. First it’s the witch hazel, the Dafne, the helleborus, the camellias. I begin to revel in my own shock that the earth will warm up, turn green and produce fruit. What a miracle! And without winter, there is no spring. Without death, no life…The yin, the yang. How odd that this is cemented in my brain, yet still not to trust when those short days persuade me to go underground.

I want to thank the winter muses who got me through this dreary time once again. And to thank Veronica Martin and the following artists for “coming out” of hiding and being at T Project. More tea I say! Please see photos of the artwork on the website and at T Project’s Facebook page. And…spring is around the corner, bravo Planet earth. I promise to come out of hiding and write more blogposts this year…on tea and other fun topics. Please tune in and send your friends to order tea! I still think I'm making some of the best blends around. 


Gabi Villasenor & Michael Bunsen, knows together as “Telepathy Today”

Heather Peters, Oakland, California

Marjorie Dial, Portland, Oregon, Post Bac, at OCAC

John Beech, Brooklyn, New York

Laura Hughes, Portland, Oregon, recent transplant from NYC

Kati Von Lehman, Portland, Oregon

Theo Gelber, Portland, Oregon

See show gallery here.

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Grateful for Tea

November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving. It's the time when we recognize the bounty of our lives. It's the time that we are more conscious to help others who aren't as fortunate as us. And, it's the time when we get stressed out, over run with obligations, parties, travel, work and eating. During this season, tea is our best medicine.

While coffee is an adrenal stressor sending cortisol to its max thereby depleting us later, tea is far gentler on the system. Caffeine from tea enters the organs much more slowly and doesn't shock the system. It gets us through our days in a more natural, energizing manner. Tea doesn't dehydrate the body the way coffee does. Many studies show that the amino acid L-theanine found in the tea plant alters the attention networks in the brain and reveals positive effects on the brain waves. Basically, tea puts you in a more relaxed state of mind so you can focus and concentrate. Certain herbal teas like rooibos (Honey Pie) have relaxing effects and also reduce irritations and inflammations in our bodies. Certain studies suggest that green tea boosts your metabolic rate slightly, allowing you to burn an additional 70-80 calories a day. I always feel starved after a coffee crash, but with tea, hunger comes less suddenly and not as often. I have sensitive blood sugar issues but when I'm just drinking tea, I don't need to eat as often. 

So why is it that so many people are still hooked on coffee? Yes, it's tasty when roasted properly and pulled into a short shot of creamy chocolatey Italian style espresso. But why not drink something that has benefits too? This Thanksgiving, instead of getting amped up and burned out, try a tea regime that feeds your body more vitamins and good compounds versus whacking out your stress hormones. Sip a cup of black in the morning, a green tea mid-day and some herbal after dinner. I promise you will feel like a new person and the holidays will have less of an edge to them, all in all. Do yourself a favor and drink more tea as you meander through the holiday hustle. I promise you will be grateful.

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