Happy New Year

    I hope each and everyone of you had a great new year. This year will be great for all of us. Together with the Lolita Vulgar Team, we are working on putting together an online magazine (We are still accepting submissions!). The spring (weather pending at the moment) I will be performing casual chanoyu  for anyone who wishes to participate, more information on this as the season approaches. This year I am going to submit for the Toronto Arts Grant to work on a body of work for Grad School, or rather something that will work me towards it. Hysteria II has changed to a male version, I hope to get my needles into this sculpture series soon. The tests will be interesting none the less.
     At this present moment I am working on sketches for a birthday gift to My dear younger brother who is turning 23 this month. It’s going to be a fair size at least over 22″ by 20″, all ink and perhaps some tea as a stain behind it. Shuuhei (my cat) has been eagerly watching my pencil move the past while, he is just as excited for new work as I am.
           I hope to have your support through this new year. May we work together to make the world a bit brighter through art!

Naming ones tools

   For a few years now I have been browsing Rikyu, a website dedicated to all aspects of antiquities for Chanoyu. In the wooden tool section I have realized that each tool has a dedicated name, carefully selected by the artisan. When I first started to look It never clued in that these beautifuly etched kanji were names.
  But now I am aware of them, thus I seek names for my chasaku (my best one as I have three) and chasen .
   Finding a name itself is difficult. Just as is finding a holder for it like this one on the side. Traditionally a tea master carves their own chasaku, I am not a tea master but I wish to use my artistic skills to create one just the same. Having this duality between Teasist and Artist makes it interesting. For some the idea of spending ones time carving a tool for tea is time better spent on learning. Though tea should be learned, in my view, through all methods. Learn about how a bowl is made, learn how zisha clay is used, learn how to pick the right leaf size, etc. All feeds into the study of the leaf. Just takes decades to learn, I am short over 5 years of missing experiences for the first decade of study. What will one learn in the next?

Prepareing for Spring

 As most of you know by now I have been studying tea for quite some time now. With my full lessons (George Brown program and  Chanoyu lessons) I have come to the point where I want to invite my followers or anyone else for that matter to join me for a cup of tea (Or a few).
     By taking these Chanoyu lessons I hope to come up with a date(s) and time(s) I will serve tea to whom ever may wish for a cup. Whether this takes place at High Park at the peak of Cherry Bloosom Viewing or on the busy streets, I am still working out. The meanings behind each location and the tools I will use need much thought. Will I dress in Kimono, my usual attire or perhaps “change” to something else? Questions questions questions.  Much learning on my part as an artist as I have only done Performance art a few times. Once I wore my modern kimono down town to class (it was black with an IPod design on it) and the other was cosplaying as my ego for a large school project.
   Anyhow I just wanted to put that out there for people to look forward to.  On a side note I plan on sending out postcards for Christmas/New Years, if anyone wants to be on my mailing list before I get any of these printed feel free to e-mail me. Till latter~

Ceremonial Matcha – Majesteas

                       Recently I have been starting each day with matcha. I set aside enough time to quietly prepare it in a meditative way. I quickly ran out of my matcha and went out to get a new one to try. This one is from Majesteas.  I noticed it in the shop about a week before I ran out. The kanji on it captured me as I sought to translate it, but failed.
      Getting it home I eagerly waited till the next morning (Friday) to enjoy the tea. Although it was not until Saturday evening I decided to write about this brew. Earlier I had visited a Man I had met over a year ago at Allen Gardens who I over heard taught Japanese Tea Ceremony. I contacted him and I enjoyed a ceremonially prepared cup of match with him. We discussed the utensils he used, the historical aspects of ちゃのゆ, and he began to teach me how to fold the ふくさ(fukusa).
       Starting in November I will begin learning 盆略手前 (bonryaku temae), tea prepared on a tray. It is quite different from how he served me which was 立礼 ( ryūrei) which he used a table like structure and I sat at my own table as a guest. As an artist I am eager to learn more about ceremonial styles as I can. Especially with my tea series taking over my usual women dominated work.                                                 
        Anyhow enough of my ramblings and back to this tea. When I opened the package inside the tin I was welcomed by a very vibrant green powder. I eagerly filled my kettle with spring water from Muskoka.  After letting it cool in my glass pitcher for a while I sifted the powder and whisked it. Vibrant green with  fine foam greeting me. I quickly drank it. It was like milk chocolate with 40% Dark mixed in. Very smooth on the tongue. I decided to accompany this with a mini sponge cake with apricot filling, they complimented each other very well. I can not wait to learn more about matcha preparation from my new sensei, and perhaps I can get my Japanese sensei to help me translate this tin some time. 

Charcoal?

     I have been a little busy putting things together for some submission deadlines. Writing, documenting, editing etc. Although I was eager the other day to start and almost finish these works.  I am very pleased with the simplicity of them. This “Tea” series will continue for some time to come.
   On a side note I am also going to begin learning Japanese Tea Ceremony starting this Saturday. I am eager to learn “茶の湯” or Chanoyu. The long Zen Buddhist and cultural history interest me  so much it was a must to begin these lessons. There was a book I saw the same day as these pieces were made at Japanese Things (Harbord St, Toronto) which went over the history and context for it, this book will soon become part of my tea book collection.
  I also started two more elongated paintings but they are still being worked on. Building up the tea stain on it is a process I am still learning. These paitings have more colour but will not feature any Japanese writing.
    I have also begun to knit again, reteaching myself basics through a hat, arm warmers etc for the coming winter. Once these skills are back in place I will fully begin Hysteria II. As for the grid, I am working on cleaning my room so I will have space to work on it and other works at the same time. I found an easel near Queen street, so this will be put to good use (Sorry Matt, I’ll help you set up my other one in the basement studio).
          Anyhow keep an eye out. A lot of interesting things are going on over the next while. Till next time~