Using the gaiwan is quite an art, because holding the lid to strain the liquor, whilst simultaneously holding back the loose tea leaves, requires an element of practised hand contortion.
My gaiwan comes with six cups and the print is eight-sided. Both six and eight are reputed to bring good luck in Chinese numerology. The collagraph plate uses PVA glue to mirror white porcelain. The hand-painted grass design on the porcelain is imitated in the print by knife scoring; when inked using the intaglio method, the scorings are just like drawn lines.
There was some indecision about how to ink this print, so in the end I have gone for an edition of VE – this means it is a varied edition, and I have the freedom to try out a few different colour options!