Sunday, January 18, 2015

Happy New Year!

This is my recent acquisition for chanoyu, a tanzaku-bako, traveling box for Japanese tea ceremony.
I chose the utensils especially to make tea for 2 potter-artist friends who came to visit last week. We had great times in the past, sharing our passion for making pottery and presenting tea ceremony.

This arrangement is just for the photo-record, not the way they are used for making tea.

top shelf: Hagi chawan from Japan.

middle shelf:
shino chawan by Dale Neese, Texas potter.

bottom shelf:
mizusashi / fresh water jar, by me.

in front, L-R:
bamboo chasen/whisk,
dark bamboo chashaku/tea scoop,
bamboo hishaku/ladle
on a sankanjin style futaoki / lid rest from Japan,
black natsume / tea caddy (maple, pine and gingko leaf design),
shino chawan by Angela Rogers, Austin TX potter.

My sunroom/tearoom, ready to make tea for friends. Since it's winter, the kettle is in a ro/ sunken hearth, between host and guests, to create a sense of warmth. The scroll "Thus Now" was chosen to remind us that sharing tea with friends after many years apart is a very special occasion.

Friday, June 6, 2014

New tea things just out of the kiln

After a busy winter, I finally found time to mix some glazes and test new clays in my home studio. The mizusashi is about 6" tall, and the teabowls are 4 1/2" in diameter.
Because the summers are long, very hot and dry here, I plan to make more tea things with a sense of coolness.
Clear glaze on white clay.

Chidori, plover bird.
Happy circles.

Dragonflies on hira-chawan, for summer.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Here is one more little travel chabako I put together recently. I found the metal box at a resale shop, and a vintage collapsible cup with a lid for the kensui (bowl for discarded rinse water). I made a chakin tsutsu and furidashi with marbled clay and small white stoneware chawan with similar colors. 

The chasen is extra small so I will use the plastic container as the tsutsu until I can find time to make one of aluminum.  Also, in bottom center of photo is half of a screen ball-shaped tea-infuser that I use to sift the matcha. Instead of a lacquer natsume I use a tin container that matcha came in when I first began lessons in the 80s.  (not in picture.)

Happy New Year!

Jou and Uba with trial replacement rake & broom.
Even though they were on separate shelves in an antique mall, and their broom and rake were missing, I recognized them as Jotomba, the old couple who are spirits of twin pines, in the Noh Drama called Takasago. I quickly chose them to come home with me as compliments to the natsume (tea caddy) I had acquired this year. It has a portion of a poem from Takasago written on the outside and a drawing of their broom and rake on the inside of the lid.

They often displayed at the New Year and at weddings and anniversaries. At Sensei's Hatsugama tea gathering last month, my figures were displayed in her living room, with 2 shoots of Rosemary planted in a bonsai pot, to represent the pines. I presented usucha with the Takasago natsume.

Uba (the woman) sweeps away all sorrow, and Jou (the man) rakes in blessings.
Happy New Year full of blessing to you!
Rake & broom I made for them.
Here is my new sewing project. 

I found a vintage purse in a local antique mall in December.  On the left is my first home-made navy blue goshokago (my March 2013 blog entry) on top the new one, after its handles, metal hinges & clasp were removed, to show relative size. 

The painting of a fisherman seems
an appropriate theme for a goshokago
which can be used for an outdoor tea ritual. 

Because it wasn't lined, it didn't take long 
to unfasten the handles, hinges, and clasp.  

Creating a paper pattern for the lining.
The printed silk lining is now sewn onto fabric stiffener.   
Test fitting the lining. 
The same fabric was used to line 
the chawan bukuro (tea bowl bag). 

The basket with most of the contents. 
It stills needs a ribbon tie. 

All the things for making tea fit inside,
(space for whisk is in upper right area).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ready for my Pottery Sale on Saturday

The reason I haven't posted for a long time is that I've been setting up a small pottery studio in our garage and getting ready for my first open studio & sale since we moved to Austin (in addition to teaching 2 pottery classes, grandchild-sitting, and studying more difficult chanoyu temae). It's on Saturday, December 7, so please email me if you want more info.

The first step to making my studio space was to clear out lots of things we had stored there and replace the window glass and blinds. Now there's a space for my 2 potter's wheels (electric and leg-powered treadle) with a view into our front yard where birds and butterflies come to the drought-tolerant native Texas plants. We had a separate electric line and a vent installed for the small kiln and it's full of work and ready to fire.

This is a piece "in progress" cushioned on foam while I carve the surface. I've been testing a variety of clays and will test glazes next before making more things for chanoyu.  
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New sewing project

Even after sewing so many pieces for my Shikishidate Goshokago, I was still in a sewing mood. And I wanted to use the beautiful cha-ire (pottery container for thick tea) that I bought last fall, but it didn't have the required shifuku (bag).

It's challenging to follow the instructions on how to measure, and draw the custom-fitted pattern even though the pictures are very detailed. Two friends have helped me translate the Japanese text and I added my own notes in English as I went through the process to help me remember details.

Below are some in-progress photos. I didn't photograph the failed attempt caused by trying to conserve fabric. I cut out the pattern with a minimum seam allowance that frayed, and the bag was too small.

Before cutting the next attempt, I ironed on a very light weight fusible fabric to the back of both the outer fabric and lining, and left a generous seam allowance that could be trimmed away after sewing. Since the fabric I chose was rather stiff and the fusible backing gave it and the lining extra stability, it didn't add the usual thin layer of padding between the layers.

The pattern I made from measurements.
Measuring the chai-re
The bag lining ready for its bottom to be sewn on.  
The bag, inside out, with bottom sewn in. 

Hurray, it fits!

My home-made marudai

After basting the lining to the bag, I put it aside and made the kumihimo braid for the drawstring cord on my home-made marudai (frame for braiding). The first silk cord I braided with 8 bobbins/strands of 3ply silk, which turned out to be too small in diameter. I went back to The Needle Works here in Austin for some 6ply red-brown silk embroidery thread, which is better, but still little bit thinner than the cord on my "real" Japanese shifuku in the photo below. I read that I could vary the counterweights to change the thickness of the braid and will experiment with some Perle cotton thread before I work in silk again. 

Photo below: 
Upper left - the new basted shifuku ready for loops and cord, with red cord.
Lower left - my "real" Japanese natsume shifuku for comparison, and the first gold cord that is too narrow.