Saturday, 13 December 2014

Tea Whisk in a Bowl

Pin cushion flower, Aspedistra.
Wood fired ceramic bowl by Michiko Takahashi Nilsen.

This autumn I've started studying Japanese tea ceremony. So far I've only gotten to a brief understanding of the structure of the Chakai, tea gathering, and practicing the preparations. As with ikebana it is a study that lasts a lifetime. Through my ikebana studies I've learned quite a lot about the traditions and philosophy of the tea ceremony. Tea philosophy has influenced ikebana in the direction of simplified arrangements and a wabi-sabi esthetics.

Inspired by the shape of a Protea, Pin cushion flower, I made this simplified ikebana at home. The flower represents a chasen tea whisk placed on a folded linnen cloth, chakin, in the tea bowl. It's not placed in exactly the way a whisk would be, it merely represents the way the utensils are prepared before being carried in an presented to the guests.

This is not a chabana, a tea flower intended for the tea room, but rather a contemporary ikebana celebrating the care and hospitality inherited in the detailed preparations for a tea ceremony.

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