Article Wenzhuo Liu
Photo Raneta Coolakova
Petr Novák, a Czech, has been making teawares for 20 years. In the strong tea drinking atmosphere of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, about 25 years ago, Petr happened to visit a tea house, so he began to like drinking tea, and can socialize while tasting different teas. Through his own researches and visit to the ceramic art rooms, Petr’s tea sets have gradually become famous in Czech Republic and many countries. Out of curiosity about mysterious Asia, he slowly learned Zen and became a Buddhist, focusing on the combination of tea drinking and meditation, and making tea sets that are convenient for meditation.
Prague, not only has a very strong tea drinking atmosphere, holds a tea festival every summer, but also has a quite long history of pottery, which can be traced back to the Aurignacian culture period. The Czech Republic is also a source of pottery clay, Petr found the local natural clay and uses it to make tea sets. He is now a full-time ceramic artist, mainly using an electric kiln and a wood fired kiln built by himself. He can make 100 pieces in about two months. He recalls that when he first started making pottery 20 years ago, his life was very difficult. After years of trying and managing, he has accumulated many customers, which can fully support the family’s expenses. Petr started selling his ceramic works at some Tea Festival, and now he has held small-scale personal ceramic exhibitions in several countries. The tea set made by Petr strives to be functional, adding Czech elements as much as possible, and usability is his priority. He has tried to make many kinds of tea sets, different types of shapes and different clay materials. He often communicates with customers, hoping to better meet the personalized needs of consumers. Occasionally, he received large orders from some tea shops and teahouses, and used and displayed the tea sets he made according to the needs of the tea shops and teahouses.
Peter used to travel to Europe, North America and Asia to participate in tea related activities. In Asia, he went to South Korea three times to participate in the local 10 day Tea Festival. He also visited China for the third time in 2017. Tea producing areas such as Hangzhou and Wuyi Mountain, ceramic producing areas such as Jingde town and Yixing, communicated with people form some ceramic studios, tried to use local clay and find some tools suitable for pottery. In China, there are many young people who are engaged in the ceramic manufacturing industry and have great vitality and creativity. There are many kinds of ceramic products, traditional and current designs, and products at various prices. He always felt that the time he stayed was not enough, and he hoped that he would have the opportunity to communicate for a longer time in the future.
In recent years, health preservation is popular. Meditation, as a health preservation and fitness method, is becoming more and more popular. The combination of tea and meditation has become a selling point. After a bowl of tea, people will calm down, adjust their breath, close their eyes and sit cross legged. Petr is also a devotee of meditation, drinking tea and meditating every day. Chinese Taoists and Buddhist monks have planted tea trees near Taoist temples and Buddhist temples since ancient times. When Petr visited, he personally experienced the mystery of tea drinking and meditation, and slowly developed tea sets suitable for meditation. The large tea bowl and the side handle teapot are most handy to use. Put tea leaves into the tea bowl, and then pour the hot water boiled in the side handle teapot into the tea bowl. Simple and convenient, a bowl of tea time not only relaxes the body, but also soothes the mind, then can start meditating.