On September 10th the members of Sunshinkai (the Warsaw Urasenke Association) were invited to participate in a joint event with Studio Plastyczne Ścieżka at the Studio Teatralne S/T.
Ścieżka asked us to combine a contemplative tea environment with their art show in order to put the guests in a calm state of mind while viewing the pieces.
To do this we had the guests all enter the gallery/theater as if they were coming into a tearoom. First they put on white socks, used a tsukubai, and finally entered through a nijiriguchi (small crawl-through doorway) into the dimly lit room.
Practice the day before Building the nijiriguchi
Without any additional explaination we started a tea presentation in which three Sunshinkai members arranged flowers, built a charcoal fire and made and drank thick tea on a tatami stage.
First the flowers were arranged
Next the charcoal
Making the tea
Afterwards the lights came up and the guests were invited to view the art.
About an hour later the guests were asked to sit in two lines where they were served tea in temple style before quietly leaving.
The feedback all seemed good, both the guests and the members of Ścieżka thought the atmosphere and environment lent themselves to a peaceful and contemplative experience.
We always enjoy working with Ścieżka, thanks to you all, the next event lined up sounds equally interesting.
Of course we only spent about half our time in the tea rooms in Colorado.
When we weren’t visiting with family and friends we were usually sharing the outdoors with them as well as visiting the largest herbal tea producer in the U.S.
Aaron and Ula at Celestial Seasonings in Boulder, Colorado
A great year of tea, from the Dead Sea in Jordan to the continental divide in the mountains of Colorado
As always we loved our time in Colorado and look forward to the next time we can share a bowl of tea with our family and friends there. Thank you all so much for the great time.
Mike gave us the chance to hold a complete chaji at his place for him and a few of his students during our stay. We took the opportunity to share some of the tea life we encountered over the past year.
The waiting room, our somewhat subtle way of bringing the (tea) revolution into the theme. (the scroll is called “Giza Pyramid”)
Sorry, for although we had a full kaiseki there are no pictures to share, we were a little too busy. Ula and Aaron shared the host tasks, Ula prepared the Sumi and thin tea and Aaron served the kaiseki and thick tea. Mike was the first guest with Lindsey and Tom as second and third.
Ula prepares the charcoal
Ula lays the charcoal
We were fortunate to have Mike make the beautiful and tasty main sweets himself while we cooked the food, we named it “Colorado Nishiki” or Colorado brocade
The unity is completed as we use our favorite vase from Jordan along with American, Polish and Japanese items.
sharing the sweets before thin tea
guests enjoying thin tea
wonderful dimly lit room
The last bowl of tea before the guests quietly leave
We took the Polish kaigu (set of blue ceramic utensils for the daisu) for Mike and brought back many great memories and experiences (as well as a beautiful futaoki Mike made) that will stay with us always. Another great day of tea and togetherness.
We had the great pleasure to meet and practice with old friends and new.
We met in four different tea spaces and had the chance to run through an entire chaji practice with Ulrich Haas-sensei while he visited from Germany.
Acting as host, Roy fills the tsukubai.
Mike calls the guests back for tea by ringing a gong.
The guests listen to the gong and re-enter the tea room for the second half of the tea gathering.
The guests entering the room for the thick and thin tea.
Mike in Roy’s tea room
Tom’s tea room
Lots of practice
Never can get too much of a good thing.
During the Summer break Ula and Aaron visited friends and family in Colorado. The tea activities were many and are highlighted over the next few posts.
A presentation for a group in Estes Park
Drinking matcha was new to nearly the entire group.
The guests all seemed open to the new experience, especially commenting on the overall atmosphere even more than the tea itself.
On the right you see the vase from A. Saqf (www.saqf.com) making its first Colorado appearance.
We also used the calligraphy “Ikka Goyou ni Hiraku”, one flower opens into five petals.
Azumaya in Japanese Garden, Wrocław
As we were visiting Wrocław organizing a tea presentation in cooperation with the Japanese Embassy for “Meeting with Japan”, we finally found some time to visit the Japanese Garden. The teahouse there does not seem to be frequently visited by tea guests but certainly makes you want to drink a bowl of heart warming matcha.
A picture from our tea presentation in Wrocław.
Many thanks to the Japanese Embassy for their constant support and willingness to always work together to give more and more people occasion to share a bowl of tea.