Archive for May, 2012
Immediately following the Tacoma CC workshop Mari flew in from Japan and we headed down to Portland to set up a very special exhibition in the main pavillion of the Portland Japanese Garden, a well known institution in the N.W. about to celebrate it’s 50th anniversary next year. The timing was such that we arrived as their signature weeping cherry tree beside the pavillion was just coming into full bloom, a harbinger of the long-awaited Spring.
The exhibition was titled “Meditative Moments”, and was a collaboration between my tea ceramics and the exquisite 2D work of my good friend, Hiroshi Senju, undoubtedly one of Japan’s foremost contemporary artists and the first Asian artist to win a prize at the prestigeous Venice Biennale. The pavillion was transformed into a beautiful gallery by the small but superb staff of the garden installation crew under the direction of the curator Diane Durston, an old friend of ours from Kyoto, going back 30 years. The show was part of the Gardens’ theme of “Healing” for 2012 and we were hoping to give the visitors another perspective from which to enjoy the Garden through the art of tea ceramics along with Senju’s ephemeral works which so elegantly capture the spirit of nature, be it water, trees or skies.
One of the most wonderful aspects of the show was the synchronicity of my works in clay with Hiroshi’s paintings/prints/etchings, all of which was totally unscripted. The photograph on the left below is a prime example of this. On the right is a general view of the gallery.
Another great feature was the opportunity to have a space for tea right in the gallery (as seen above right). This enabled us to do tea presentations throughout the show, thanks to the warm cooperation of the membersof the Kashintei-Kai, the group that actually studies in the tea house in the garden itself. Over the 3 1/2 weeks of the show over 150 people were able to experience drinking a bowl of tea, and almost 18,000 visitors passed through the garden during the show, coming from countries as far away as Australia, Italy, Netherlands, S. Africa and throughout Asia, not to mention most of the 50 United States!
During the exhibition we screened the film entitled “Forbidden Kyoto- An Encounter with Green Tea” that I had shot in Kyoto last Spring, giving guests an insider look at the history, production and preparation of Chanoyu, to help with understanding the significance of Chado (The Way of Tea) and Chatou (tea ceramics) in Japanese culture. Overall I felt it was an excellent introduction to tea, as well as showing that this centuries old art form can still be relevant in today’s world as a means of enriching people’s lives and serving as a natural healing force for both the mind & body.
To view an excellent body of images covering the gallery please click on the following link to see the photographs of Jonathan Ley.
This is another link to a review of the exhibition featured in an online ezine of Portland art events.
Wow, it’s already May and the world is green once again! Definitely one of the finest times of the year (unless you’re an allergy victim). Yes it’s time to come out of hibernation (for all you northerners) and soak up that long lost sunshine!
Last month, actually beginning the final day of March, I traveled to Seattle, Wa. from Kyoto to teach at a four-man 2-day workshop focusing on Tea Ware at the Tacoma Community College (with Rob Fornell, Osamu Inayoshi & Jeff Shapiro), following the annual NCECA Clay Conference in Seattle. The workshop was held in conjunction with not only NCECA, but also a fine exhibition put together by Rob Fornell and Rick Mahaffey, the head of the ceramics program at Tacoma CC. The show featured tea bowls made by an assortment of about 40 potters from Japan, Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. made and fired in a wide variety of styles and kilns. Unfortunately it was only up for a mere week so very few folks had the opportunity to see it. On the other hand, it will travel to the Cavin-Morris Gallery in Chelsea, NYC this summer, where it is scheduled to run from June 29th thru August, so hopefully many more people interested in chawan will have a chance to see it.
The workshop was attended by about 35 participants from all over the US anxious to learn more about the art of the chawan. We 4 leading the workshop all made bowls using different techniques for both construction and trimming so everyone got a chance to see a lot of different chawan, despite the fact that there wasn’t nearly enough time in the day & half we had. Towards the end of the session it seemed there was an almost unanimous desire to get deeper into the work which might actually lead to a continuation in a future workshop as Part 2. We’ll see…….