Secret Teatime:Tea Bowl Making

       In October I went over to Secret Teatime’s studio in Scarborough. I had signed up for their fall Chawan workshop and was eager to try my had my ceramics. We started with an overview of the history of tea ceremony up till present day and covered the shapes of a tea bowl. Helen treated us to seeing her perform
       It was another great Saturday with Secret Teatime. Our group each made a chawan (tea bowl) the first day. Before we met the next Saturday, Helen and Sorlie glazed and fired the works. They were then presented to us during tea ceremony.
      For the first section we had usucha (thin tea). It was very interesting to see the difference between Urasenke and Omotesenke, the latter being what Helen was using. The biggest for me is the “snapping” of the fukusa before folding. The whole style was beautiful and had little intentional sounds that were absent from Urasenke.
        Back to our bowls, I was very pleased with how my chawan turned out with the glaze I choose. I depicted a buddhist flame on the shoumen (front of the bowl) and a fox inside it. I choose these two symbols as I find them together in images from shrines in Japan. Also, Inari’s symbol is a fox. To me these fit together and worked very well as a piece.
       As Sado is a life long learning process and I have been enjoying practice with the new piece. I enjoyed my time at the studio and the company of Helen, and Sorlie.

       If you were to make a chawan what would it look like? Would you use any imagery? There are so many possibilities out there, What would you do? -KAT


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26th year of life

    I quickly wrote this out and wanted to have it posted so I can never go back on my own word. I wanted to share this with everyone as well as it may interest you or spark your own little life goal as well.

“It is the eve of my 26th birthday. My gift to myself is going to be tea. You are going to think I am crazy but hear me out.  I already have tea, I drink it and enjoy it. Although for the last few months I have lost my passion for it.  On the way home I was reading a book by a Urasenke master and he described how tea is a way of life. I had already learned about this from many books before but it just seemed more fresh from his written words.

    Chanoyu or The Way of Tea is a way of life. Everything in the tea room relates back to life itself. The four virtues are very important, especially now in such a technological society. What I am trying to explain is that I want to live by these virtues.

  Over the next 4 years I will be focusing on one virtue at a time, while learning and striving to live by them all. But by focusing on one at time for a years length I can truly live through tea.

   To devote myself I am going to post these virtues at my home, my work and eventually tattoo (one at a time) on my body; as reminders of how important these are to my daily life. I have been such a scatter brain, over spender; thoughtless, unforgiving, unloving etc the list is endless. I wish to be a true human being through tea with use of these virtues.

  I depart for a work/vacation and will keep these virtues close to my heart each day of the two weeks. But as of now I will live as I have wanted to. I am taking back tea which I lost and bringing it back in to my life as I once had.

    Ichi no Ichi- I cannot let a moment pass by without realizing how important each moment is.”

Below is a link to information on these virtues:

Tea Ceremony:

‘via Blog this’

Chanoyu and okashi

      For my past few classes I have been enjoying a dry sweet when I have my tea. To the left is what this sweet looks like. It melts in the mouth and is not as sweet as Canadian/America candies.
    These sweets come in other forms such as seasonal shapes (flowers, leaves etc) but this one can be used for any season it seems.
    This type of dry sweet is used for usucha or thin tea. Not many people have tried its other form koicha or thick tea. Thick tea, from my research, is served to all guest from the same bowl. It is passed from guest to guest till it is done. The sweets that accompany this tea is moist, like a jello consistency or almost cake like (fondant more so).

    The image I have used to show you this usucha sweet is from Rakuten, an online shop that in itself acts like a mall. I have found everything from food to kimono to even tobacco accessories (kiseru even which is traditionally used in tea ceremony if the guests smoke). The other three images are examples I found in google images of other types of sweets or Wagashi.  The pink one is my favourite that I look forward to every spring. It is a mochi rice sweet with red bean paste inside, warped with a salted sakura leaf. Truly a great sweet with any tea.
      Check out Rakuten, your local china town or even a local Japanese specialty shop to try out these sweets!!



Surprise at my door!

Thursday, I went outside to get some fresh air after watching a lot of Chinese dramas, I set up The Sorcerer and the White of Snake(白蛇传说) to load and went out the door. Upon opening it I found a box at my door which the customs label stated there was a tea cup inside. At first I thought I had forgotten about an e-bay or Yuuki-cha purchase I had made perhaps over my vacation. 
    Once I finally opened the box I came to realize this was the package from KingKoh who also sent me incense.
    This tea cup is a beautiful chawan. I am still in shock that I have this piece of art. Strangely enough I had just purchased a cast iron pot to use for chanoyu practice this very same day. Since opening it I have been starring at the bowl, picking it up and feeling the unique textures it has. 

     Koh left me a note inside of it, ” I put this tea bowl in that I made as a suprise. It has a white Shino glaze with a white oak ash on the outside that turned green. The inside has crawled and stayed white. I also infuse my bowls with reiki energy. I hope you enjoy it.”

 On a smaller green note says” Shinorei”, which I believe is this bowls name. I am curious as to which kanji is used to write it’s name. On another note, I am glad that this came when it did. I have been working on an assignment for Tea classes which I am to create a Problem-free-contemporary tea service. I choose Chanoyu to use as a basis, which I am slowly studying. The tea bowl, I am sure, will inspire such assignment. This gift made my week much better after having an Asthma attack on the way to work Tuesday, I am fine now though as I am taking various medications. I am off to grab a few things so I may work on an art piece this afternoon (after going to Tao Tea Leaf~). 
   I can not thank my friend King Koh enough for this amazeing surprise!


As part of my Chanoyu education I have been practising the art of putting on kimono (kitsuke).  Kimono today was the end result of the kosode from the Kamakura period. It started as an undergarment and evolved to its current form since then.
  The main part I find that helps me in Chanoyu is the obi. It keeps my back straight and prevents me from slouching over. There are many different ways to tie the obi. Some are meant for a particular age group or time in ones life.  For these images I am wearing a Michiyuki, a “rain coat”. I decided to wear it as it was a bit chilly out, it did the trick.
      For kimono it is traditional to wear tabi socks which have a split toe to wear sandals. In the second image I am wearing 2.5 inch approx. high geta, they are a bit hard to walk in.
       I really enjoy wearing kimono and hope to share my kitsuke with you all here on Tea Journey and over at Split/Gender (My Art blog). Keep an eye out for random posts with kitsuke snapshots and a little history about kimono.