Sunday, December 25, 2016

Another version of my white chabako set.  

It's warm this winter in Austin, so the white theme helped suggest a winter holiday feeling. I lined the bottom of the chabako with white "snow" dotted blue cotton fabric, and made a silk kobukusa in a similar color. The binkake (brazier) is one I just made, with a gingko leaf pattern.

For the Unohana Chabako procedure, I chose a gold tray and Angela Rogers beautiful pale blue chawan to contrast all the white. Happy Holidays! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Shiro, white, chabako

Finally I have all the parts for a new chabako set. I made a white ceramic chasen tsutsu, chakin tsutsu, furidashi and chashaku. In this picture is a Japanese chawan, that can be used until I have time to make a chawan that looks like a nest for the vintage Avon "bird" tea caddy. 

I like the simplicity of all white, but it would be fun to make colored or patterned liners for the box that could be changed for the seasons. I also plan to make a quilted cloth bag for carrying it safely outdoors. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tea for a Hot Summer Day

Clear chabako set in the morning light, creates a cool feeling on a hot summer day.


I found a smaller clear glass teabowl to nest inside the larger one, for the Wakei Chabako Temae. The "usuitia" is a small silver lacquered tray, that is brought in on top the chabako.

 And I painted the back of the chashaku (bamboo tea scoop) with metalic lacquer. When the chashaku is turned over onto the teabowl, it reminds me of the silvery flash of minnows as they swim in a shallow stream of water.

Instead of a hanging scroll I used 
a fan for this informal tea, with silvery images from the Chōjū-giga 鳥獣戯画 Frolicking Animals, that are caricatures of Japanese priests as toads, rabbits and monkeys. It's from a a set of four emakimono (picture scrolls), at Kōzan-ji temple in Kyoto, mid 12-13th c.

Good Morning!

Sunday, March 27, 2016


It was time to make a Wakin shifuku and matching kobukusa for my Nataktsugi tea caddy so that I could practice the Wakindate chanoyu procedure for lessons.

First, I measured the tea caddy and made a paper pattern with seam allowances added. The outer layer is striped silk damask and the lining is green dupioni silk. It was the closest I could find to traditional kanto, striped, pattern that is used for some shifuku. (See my March 2013 entry about making a different shaped shifuku.)

I thought the cylindrical shape of shifuku would be easier to make than one for the curved silhouette of a ceramic cha-ire, but it took considerable experimentation to get the the bottom seam set underneath just the right amount. Also, because the silk is smooth and rather thin, every stitch shows and it was challenging to sew the round inset bottom evenly. 

I used my marudai frame to make a kumihimo braided cord for the drawstring. The 12 ply silk made a better diameter cord than my previous attempt. The paper strip in the picture above has points measured for sewing on the loops which hold the drawstring. 

Below is the finished Wakin shifuku and kobukusa set. Behind it is the mizusashi I made, with a lacquer lid from Japan. The traditional mizusashi for this temae is from Seto with a lacquer lid that rests on top the rim, but I think mine has a similar unassuming feeling. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Two tana (shelves) 

The Yoshino-dana style was favored by Ennosai, the 13th generation grand tea master of the Urasenke school (1872-1924). The inspiration for this design came from the round window of a tearoom used by the famous courtesan, Yoshino Dayu (1606-1643). 

It has a choice of two screens that fit into the left side; a white shoji screen is used in winter and a bamboo reed screen in summer.  

The chawan at the left of my tenchaban-style table is inside a mage wappa (bentwood) kensui, for the Irekodate temae. The hishaku is hung on the peg, and the natsume (tea caddy) is displayed on the top shelf.  

The Hisago-dana (or Hyotan-dana), has a hyotan / gourd shape cutout. I love that the piece which is cut out serves as the shelf. This style was favored by Tantan-sai, 14th Urasenke Grand Tea Master (1893-1964).  The Asagao (morning glory) natsume looks refreshing on the  natural wood grain of the tana.

Both of these tana are held together with pegs and can be easily dis-assembled for storage in a flat box.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My "real" goshokago from Japan

Even though I love making my own chabako from found materials, I wanted a "real" goshokago from Japan to compare with the ones I make. I wanted to see if I had accurately guessed at the dimensions and "feel" of traditional ones. 

To explain how long I've wished for one, when I visited Japan in 1984, I saw a picture in a magazine of a lady in kimono with all the pieces spread out on view. At the time, I had only studied chanoyu for a year and didn't know how they were used, but I was fascinated that they all fit into a beautiful lidded basket. 

Goshokago sets are very expensive, but I finally found one in my price range. Here it is:

It was missing only the brocade shifuku case for the chashaku, so I found a silk necktie that has similar colors, and made one.

Summer Chabako, revised -
an update to my clear chabako in the September 1, 2012 entry

My friend Becky Wehmer, a glass artist in Michigan, made 3 furidashi and 2 chakin tsu-tsu for my clear chabako set. Also In the picture is the ceramic furidashi that came with my traditional set, for comparison. The stopper from it fits one of the glass ones, and I made a stopper for another one.

I use a glass kettle on a vintage plate-warmer for hot water.

I'm still looking for a more interesting glass tea caddy than the spice jar in the picture. I'm waiting to receive a pretty glass chawan, I ordered from Japan, but the double-walled one works well. 

It may be hard to see in the picture below, that the chasen (whisk) is in a chasen tsu-tsu I made from a sheet of plastic stitched with silver thread.