Thursday, April 3, 2014

Duke Gardens Japanese Tea House

Today turned into a beautiful spring day after a morning shower and a slight chill in the air until noon. My pal Barbara invited me to go with her to the tea house at Duke Gardens to visit her friend, who until recently was the director of the tea program. She was here to share some things from her recent trip to Japan with the women that present the tea ceremonies for the tea house. Today was their day to practice before serving the public and we were invited to stay after their practice for green tea and sweet snacks.

These Japanese women were beautiful and kind and had such a sense of joy and peace about them.
I have been around two different cultures from the East now this year, and we are just getting it all wrong here in this country. These people know who they are, love beauty in all forms, and are so content with their life. I never sense these feelings around westerners the way I do around people from other cultures. What is up with us?!

Note the tea bowls. Barbara was asked to make small tea bowls for them to use during the tea ceremony. She makes a great tea bowl and taught me well years ago. When I try I can actually make a decent bowl myself.... these are really sweet and so nice to cup in your hand with warm tea inside.

For all of you electric kiln users out there, you will recognize this glaze as nutmeg. Barbara switched from her gas kiln a few years ago, left behind the shinos she loves so much and has tried very hard to come up with an alternative aesthetic with her electric kiln. She is getting some really nice results.

Duke Gardens is getting ready to explode with flowers, in another couple of weeks it will be intoxicating. Little buds were on the trees, little sprouts peeking up through the straw and mulch, the gardeners were everywhere, planting, planting, prepping. Life is beginning all over again in the garden!

BTW, if you noticed on your blog roll a post from me that never showed up, I have no idea what happened. I was going to ask you to all go over to Old Grey Mare and vote for her kid's film, but by the time I figured out my post didn't show up the voting ended. Sorry about that Suzan!


littlemancat said...

I love the teabowl in the last picture - can almost feel it warm with tea, cupped in my hands. What a nice experience for you - did you like the tea? I understand that it can taste bitter to those not used to it. I drink green tea, but have never had the joy of experiencing a tea ceremony and having matcha.
If you're interested, try reading some of Kawabata's books - especially "Snow Country." Perhaps you already have.
Sorry to go on so long, but this post interested me so much.
Take care, best wishes -

oldgreymareprimitives said...

I just love and appreciate that you tried.
I enjoyed a brief but beautiful tea ceremony in Japan while on an overnight layover on my way to Korea many years ago. Yes, I was very aware of an appreciation for the smallest details be it the tie of a Kimono or the lines of a tree....
We however rush toward monetary gain...Sadly I believe our western influence will ruin many cultures...

Tracey Broome said...

Mary, I like tea of any kind, so yes, I enjoyed the experience, it tasted like grass.... I do, however prefer black tea and am ha is probably an acquired taste, not something I would really drink every day. But it was fun!
Suzan, I think you are right, westerners are infiltrating a sloppy greedy lifestyles into many cultures,it's sad.....

Lori Buff said...

That sounds like a wonderful experience. I've been to tea gardens but never participated in a ceremony. I'm envious.

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Lori, I think it would be interesting to participate in one of the ceremonies at the tea house. This was more of an informal gathering for practice, it was very social and fun. The best thing would be to go to Japan and experience the tea ceremony there!

Michèle Hastings said...

What a beautiful garden and tea house. I really need to visit someday.
As for matcha... I agree it's like sipping grass clippings. I can't get used to it. Jeff enjoys it occasionally when we have company. I like the ceremony, the cups, teapots, and equipment, just don't like the tea.

Tracey Broome said...

Yeah, I would rather have some chai or some black tea. I can drink green tea, but I lean more towards the India flavors for my daily tea drinking
You and Jeff really should take a day and visit the gardens this spring, such a beautiful time of year, avoid the weekend though :-)