A collaboration by Ginger Owen & Vicki VanAmeyden

This installation work developed from our mutual, yet exclusive, interpretations of the aesthetics of tea based upon our reading and subsequent discussions of “The Book of Tea” by Kakuzo Okakura. The work reflects concepts associated with the way of tea, the art of life as proposed by Okakura, and by our individual experience with Japanese culture.

Through this aetheticization of tea, the Tea Master infuses all aspects of Japanese life: from the serving of food and mode of dress to ceramics, architecture, flower arranging, lacquer ware, etc. The Way of Tea exerts a Way of Life. The Art of Tea is the Art of Life. No separation exists.

The elements and objects with which we chose to work reflect the moment of drinking, the conversation, the “lingering in the beautiful foolishness of things”.  We attempt to exert control over the environment by creating it, but by the very act of collaboration, another artist is present - one who does not exert control, but just is. Such is the Way of Art.

“Every Encounter” is human-scale environment which interprets the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony and distinctive Eastern aesthetics from a Western perspective.

All items in the installation are handmade and incorporate an alteration of tea or tea bag. For example, the table covering is created from used tea bags then reconstructed in a quilt-like arrangement. All cloth and paper are tea-stained.

The components borrowed from the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony are:

ichiban – the art of flower arranging
kakemono – scroll with calligraphy and poetics
tea making – performed by tea master
art of conversation

The installation requires approximately 6’ x 6’ of floor space with adjacent wall space.

table covering: used tea bags, 42”x42”
tea bowls: tea stained paper and hands: cast plaster gauze, 5”x10”x10”
text: relief printed onto traditional calligraphy paper, 8 –1”x80” ea
floor pillows: tea stained fabric, 5”x20”x20”
scroll: tea-stained fabric and tea bags with relief printing, 54”x24”
arrangement: tea bags, wire, plaster gauze-covered branch,
vase: tea-stained paper, 9”x4”x4”
shelf: glass and stained metal, 1”x9”x8”
table: 12”x40”x40”