Finding Inner Peace Through Japanese Arts at Cotuit Center
By: iO Staff, May 2, 2012
The traditional Japanese tea ceremony offers respite from daily routine and an opportunity to attain inner peace through contemplation.
In recognition of the role of the tea ceremony in Japanese culture, Cotuit Center for the Arts will present “A Taste of the Japanese Tea Ceremony” with an opening reception on Saturday, May 5, from 5 to 7 PM. All are welcome to attend.
Two authentic Japanese tea ceremonies will also be conducted by Yoko Kawashima Watkins on Sunday, May 6, at 1 and 2 PM. Admission is $10. The first 25 people to register for each ceremony will receive a free handmade sake cup made by Hollis Engley of Hatchville Pottery. To register, call (508) 428-0669.
Watkins will demonstrate the traditional tea ceremony, or Cha-no-y. A native of Japan who now lives in Brewster, she is the author of several autobiographical children’s books on Japanese culture, including “So Far from the Bamboo Grove.”
“The Japanese tea ceremony, also called Way of Tea, is a beautifully choreographed ritual,” says Lois Hirshberg, curator of the show and a potter who lived for a time in Japan.
A traditional Japanese tea ceremony involves four principles: harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. Artists were asked to create pieces for the show that incorporated these four principles.
“We don’t often think of Cape Cod as being culturally diverse,” says Hirshberg, “but it is, and if we can see and experience that through the tea ceremony and art exhibit, it is always a plus.”
The ceremony involves the preparation and presentation of a powdered green tea, matcha. Using specific movements and utensils, there is a careful attention to the aesthetics of every aspect of the ceremony: from the skill of the tea makers, the environment of the tea room, the use of the utensils and the making of the tea, participants learn to see the beauty in the simple things in life.
Art is intrinsic to the ceremony and includes ceramics, brush painting, flower arranging, all of which are incorporated into the “Taste of Tea” exhibit.
- Jean Mangiafico will create traditional ikebana flower arrangements in vases crafted by potter Denny Howard.
- Brushes made by Paul Wisotzky will be on display; he will also teach a workshop on making brushes.
- Tom Odell’s hollowware, or metal vases and bowls, made in traditional Japanese style, will be on display.
The accompanying art exhibit, “Harmony and Balance,” will include traditional and non-traditional works by Japanese-American artists and others who have been influenced by Japanese culture. It will be displayed in the main gallery through June 10.
- Donna Knight and Andrea Favret will display their sumi-e brush paintings, and Knight will also teach a workshop on sumi-e painting.
- Lois Hirshberg, Denny Howard, Hollis Engley and Barry Johnson will show a variety of pottery influenced by Japanese principles.
- Ruth Bleakly will display kusudama paperwork, an art form similar to origami.
- Sara Ringler will show her traditional washi paper, which she learned to make while in Japan.
- Hope Grossman will display her paper representations of kimono prints
- Yukimi Matsumoto will exhibit glass vases that feature colors used in kimonos.
- Japanese-style dolls made by the late Ko Kawashima Patten, Watkins’ sister, will also be on display.
- Tom O’Connell will bring a sampling of his cement pools.
- Landscape architect Richard Johnson will show photographs of various gardens he visited in Japan.