THE TEA HOUSE SERIES
This exhibition began over two years ago when I was asked to work for a Japanese tea house in Connecticut, constructed by a master builder of tea houses from Japan. While discussing the proposal with my client, I got chills up my spine because his request had hit my aesthetic nail on its head. My work in copper began years ago when I had begun making a frieze to place as an architectural feature on my own "off the grid", rustic style home built in a sustainable way with local and reclaimed materials. There was a big connection between the house in Connecticut and my house. I have been constructing for fifteen years. My passions had been rekindled. The first two of the Series now hang at the tea house and number one of the Series, whose companion piece is "Tea House Scroll," has been incorporated as an architectural feature.
A tea house is a place built specifically to house the tea ceremony. It is traditionally built in a rustic manner in natural area. The tea house is a place to quiet the mind and to create a sense of well being and awareness. Simplicity, beauty and dignity are aspects of the tea ceremony. It is a ritualized process of preparation, making receiving tea. It evolved as an integral part of Zen practice.
The borrowed works exhibited all have connections with this show. The Goodson piece, which was a commission, was actually the work that my client saw which prompted the phone call to me and ultimately the commission for the tea house.
Most of the copper in this show is from reclaimed sources. The wood for the frames is from local resources and harvested in a sustainable manner. The oak was logged and sawed by Matt Barry, SAS alumnus, from his family land nearby.
This exhibition would not have happened without the collaboration of many individuals. I am grateful to all of you. Special thanks and gratitude for mentoring advice during those many blocks that occurred during the past two years to Jim Ann Howard and Elizabeth Motlow. To Christi Teasley, my first star botany student whose skill and expertise as director has made every aspect of this show a great pleasure, I am grateful beyond words. Thanks go to Jeff Pfitzer, who from my crude sketches constructed the walnut frames in his usual manner of superb execution. Especially I am grateful and give tremendous thanks to Kevin Welsh, wood artist, who worked many hours with me showing tremendous patience and tolerance, for his excellent skill and artistic input in making all the frames.
This show is a true homecoming for me. Returning to SAS where I taught biology twenty five years ago, and enjoying some of the best years of my life (so far), is an important transition and somehow the coming back of a big circle. In many ways this exhibition is an expression of me and my life which has come home.