Perhaps no other plant has influenced the history of the world so much as the camellia sinensis plant–tea. From China, Japan, India, and Ceylon, to Russia, England, Morocco, Ireland, and the United States, tea has played a major role in trade, politics, technology, and the arts. When the West discovered the “elixir of the East,” with its rejuvenating and stimulating qualities, it changed everything: social mores (tea gatherings, tea time), arts and crafts (porcelain, silverware, tea caddies and services), technology (pottery-making), trade (clipper ships), work habits (the Industrial Revolution), and politics (the American War of Independence). As the English writer Samuel Johnson quipped: “Tea’s proper use is to amuse the idle, relax the studious, and dilute the full meals of those who cannot use exercise.” So brew up one or more of your favorite teas, have your questions ready, and join us for a lively slideshow, talk, and discussion about the world’s most-popular drink: its rich history and lore, varieties, and the art of brewing a perfect cup.
Paul Angiolillo discovered the contemplative pleasures and soothing benefits of tea as an undergraduate at Yale U. in the 1970s. Since then, he has expanded his interest in this world’s most-popular drink (after water), while working as a journalist and an editor. To gain more experience in fine teas, he has also worked at Upton Tea Imports (Holliston MA). Paul has also been creating sculptures and functional “art” objects for several decades, in both representational and abstract styles. For many years he studied with master sculptor Joseph Wheelwright in Boston. Paul has shown his works in galleries, art centers, libraries, museum shops (deCordova, Fuller Craft), and other venues, as well as in many outdoor exhibits.