International designer and tea-drinker Charlie Whinney presents Cup Of Tea winner and announces a special series of bespoke prizes!
29th January 2015
I am now craving tea after reading all your entries. I am no stranger to variation in my own work, and really enjoyed reading so many different responses to this level-headed, both British and highly international title. There are many moments of brilliance here, many memories and reflections, and as a weekly snapshot I think we can learn something.
I will get straight to the point: the winner made me delighted, intrigued and disgusted. I liked the story, descriptions and turn-of-phrase, and overall I was just happy to have read it and polarised my friends with it. A complex, fantastic and dazzling scenario is skilfully crafted in a short piece of writing. I hope it was as much fun to write as it was to read. I very rarely read science-fiction so cannot comment on how it compares within the genre – but the 'gharmwutch was exceptional' – please enjoy if you have not already!
I also really liked one of the short poems, and almost chose it as winner. The first part is below:
This quiet moment, while leaves
steep in tea's deepening hue,
we can take a breath and release
the thieves secreting away our time...
I have featured this poem because it captures not just a practical delivery, but an event, a pause, and a rest. There are so many ideas here and they all speak clearly, and I also like the way this poem scans on the page and reads aloud.
The other work I have gone for is the 'Holidays' piece about tea and family. It is just lovely, and quite sophisticated on subsequent readings. Please see the first line below:
My family has had tea at least four times today. We listen to the unfurling of leaves in the warmest of waters. A green ocean that washes over the build up—we cannot see past our guts...
The narrative style is shot with well-written nuances, and by the end of this work I had a vivid picture of the narrator, and memories and visions of childhood and adolescence in the family.
The choice of 'winner' is obviously a purely qualitative, personal and unscientific judgement. I think maybe if the weather and news had not been so rubbish here in the UK recently I might have gone for something different - it is impossible to say! I also really liked the story which begins: 'How you make a cup of tea says so much about whether you care.' The narrator is a cold, cold psychopath who shares many of my views about tea. It is well written and is definitely worth reading on Ephemera if you can find it.
Part of the reason I am judging Hour of Writes this week is because for the next few weeks my studio is going to making some additional prizes for the winners, as part of a new project called 'The Solutioniser'. It is a new concept we are developing and experimenting with, making smallish art and utility objects based on a series of questions people answer online, at www.art.solutions. Imagine doing 'flash fiction' but with wood, metal and plaster and you get the idea – it all happens quickly with top-quality materials and the results are quite striking. Results so far include the judges’ pencils which started life as a 'Solutioniser' project commissioned by Hour of Writes – we are all quite smitten with Hour of Writes and love reading Ephemera. It is an adventure, and we do not know where it will go, but thought it would be interesting to link up with Hour of Writes for a few weeks to see what happens – very much in the creative spirit of the one-hour challenge.
Charlie Whinney is an artist and designer, with large-scale art installations in Japan, China, Singapore, USA, France and the UK. If you are in London, the most recent project was a run of windows at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, which will be there for the next five weeks. He also writes about steam-bending for several magazines, and has an honesty cafe adjacent to the workshop for thirsty Lakeland walkers to enjoy a perfect cup of tea.
See www.charliewhinney.com and art.solutions
NB. Winner will be contacted about their additional Solutioniser prize!