From the tea-forest: explore our 2020 harvest

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Ephemeral Stones: our Beijing Design Week Project

We thought an ancient forest to be immortal, then we saw the fires. Our irrational minds relied on stones, then: they must endure. In the village at the edge of the Eastern Leaves forest, there are some stones that were made to last forever, but they have been demolished and neglected. They lay abandoned close to a newly built brick house. We collected them and worked on them, understanding their quality of impermanence, dispelling our ephemera-phobia. The material used in this project is the typical roof-tile, the only durable construction piece used in the old and now demolished south-west Yunnan houses where we work and often live. We have taken these “ephemeral stones” and made them last, at least in our...

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The Tea Harvest

  Early morning, an ancient forest, tea trees bud and leaves grow. The tea harvest—When does it happen and how do we do it at Eastern Leaves? The basic material — Where does the tea come from? The dry leaves that we brew in our beloved cups were once fresh, colored a light green-yellow, and plucked off the tips of the tea tree branches.The tea trees are almost constantly in a state of germination, the amount of which varies according to the climate and weather. During this process they produce fresh, tender buds. The buds are picked along with either two, three, or four leaves—depending on the tree type and season.A rule of thumb is the older the tree the...

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Qiyi’s hands

He didn’t ask us to meet him at his home on the hill, but it was clear that such a journey was necessary when working with Qiyi. The wonders that he creates are to be touched with both hands and lips in order to be appreciated. Similarly, one must be in Qiyi’s proximity in order to understand his introverted personality. Our choice was made. We packed our bags and made the journey. We were first introduced to Qiyi a couple of years ago when he and his wife published a photobook. It featured their year-long journey around China sleeping, eating, and doing laundry in their car. They had one aim: to visit all the artisans possible—looking at and learning from...

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Hints of Rainy Season

On the heights of our ancient trees. On the heights of our ancient trees rain is falling, right now. The wet season follows months of dryness, during which the tea trees grows very slowly, retaining the maximum amount of minerals and nutrients possible. We picked up the dry-season buds to make the Spring Tea, the most precious product of the Yunnan mountains, and we now leave the forest to rest and to flourish again under the passing clouds, by far among the richest in colors on Earth. Nature is thriving. Nature is thriving and the trees are flourishing again; the buds grow fast, new leaves are born on the old branches. We can see it day by day, how quickly the rainforest takes back its place. We do not touch the...

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Hints of Rainy Season

On the heights of our ancient trees. On the heights of our ancient trees rain is falling, right now. The wet season follows months of dryness, during which the tea trees grows very slowly, retaining the maximum amount of minerals and nutrients possible. We picked up the dry-season buds to make the Spring Tea, the most precious product of the Yunnan mountains, and we now leave the forest to rest and to flourish again under the passing clouds, by far among the richest in colors on Earth. Nature is thriving. Nature is thriving and the trees are flourishing again; the buds grow fast, new leaves are born on the old branches. We can see it day by day, how quickly the rainforest takes back its place. We do not touch the...

Continue reading