Black teawares? “Drab, morose, depressing,” you say. “Classic,” I say. Audrey Hepburn was stunning as Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” especially in that classic “little black dress.” Of course, Wednesday was rather morbid in “The Addams Family” (both movie and TV series). The difference? Saturation.
Black as the entire color theme is funereal. Black as an accent can be a bit dramatic.
One of the things I learned in art school was how contrast levels affect our perception of things. For example, an object the same shade of red as the wall behind it will not be seen well. A bright blue object against that same wall will be seen right away. When you look at paintings, those with more color contrasts (yellow against red, purple against orange, etc.) will seem more lively. A color palette where the colors are more similar will seem more calm. Black accents in either always adds a dash of élan.
That’s the key to using black teawares: a piece here and there to add some visual drama to your teatime as well as a touch of class.
Imagine a black teapot surrounded by cups and saucers in white or of some of various hues, like the rainbow that Amsterdam cups and saucers are available in (yellows, reds, greens, etc.). Or reverse that with a teapot in white or a vibrant color surrounded by black cups and saucers.
Teapots in various designs with black as the main color are another alternative. A teaset for one called “Branches” is a good possibility. Another design called “Crème Brulée” combines black with a bit of tan and cream for a sophisticated flair. Go whimsical with a Dandelions design, a Catitude design, or a Scotty design.
How about a special mug for your work time tea break? Let your sense of style show with a black mug. They come in several varieties, some with black interiors, others with white interiors, and still others with ocean blue, red, orange, or yellow interiors (with matching spoons).
Cast iron teapots mostly come in black (there’s a trend toward colors — green ones and red ones), so your Asian teatime can be stylish with that teapot center stage. Bright green bamboo sprigs, white handleless teacups, and the beautiful yellow-green of a Dragonwell or a light oolong like Tie Kuan Yin that I tried awhile ago.
Black teawares also have the advantage of not showing tea stains from your Keemuns, Assams, Ceylons, etc. This may not be a very important point, since I’m sure you wash your teawares thoroughly after use.
If you’re still not convinced, then how about this? A cobalt blue teapot from Price and Kensington surrounded by floral-patterned bone china teacups. You’ll get that drama without the drabness.
As an aside, if you’re in the market for an electric tea kettle, consider going for one that has black trimmings, like the Chef’s Choice 677 Electric Kettle or ones from Black and Decker and Hamilton Beach.
That little touch of black will actually brighten your teatime!
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