Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tea and Teahouses

Rita Chang, Director of the ACCs Taipei office, arranged an amazing day trip for us while we were in Taipei.  I must also acknowledge Emily Yu, her assistant, who helped with my trip's logistics, aided us in innumerable ways and was a gracious companion during much of our stay.

Part of our day was spent traveling on Taiwan's superb bullet train, heading far south of Taipei down Taiwan's west coast.  We clocked about 175 miles per hour at points on the trip.

Into the foothills Rita took us to a property where Terunobu Fujimori designed and built two teahouses.  This one stands on five stalks of enormous bamboo at the edge of a lake.

The bulge on the side, which looks like a giant wasp nest, is in fact the clay stove for heating water for tea.

Butterflies were clustered all over the forest floor.

A ladder was positioned and I climbed up into the teahouse.

A signature of Fujimori's work is embedding pieces of bamboo charcoal into white plaster

At lakeside was another plastic pipe pontoon boat!  This is a swimming raft.

Fujimori's other teahouse is a concrete boat, here out of the water.

It has a copper clad roof and another protruding firebox.

Two small Chinese-made wooden boats were also at the lake.

Rita's friend Rebecca lives nearby and teaches tea.  She served us in her house and studio.

Her tea room where she teaches classes.

Her kitchen, all part of an older property, probably a farmhouse.

A candied, stuffed persimmon...

...eaten with an exquisite bamboo fork.

Our last day in Taipei we visited the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Outside was this motorbike made largely of a tree trunk.  The range of his work was extraordinary and the museum has a fantastic link with images from the entire exhibit and descriptions.  I strongly urge you to take a look here.

Here the artist fashions weapons based on brand logos, an effort he says to warn us about the dangers of design and advertising.

Here the artist scratched Chinese characters in a thin board, which in places pierced through and let sunlight through.  The affect was amazing, making the letters look as though they were on fire.

Note the sawdust along the floor.  He had several pieces grinding away objects and leaving the waste.

His most ambitious was a series of stone statues that he ground nearly beyond recognition and then laid across the gallery floor in a sweeping arc.

I write this from Kyoto and will squeeze in a couple more blog posts from here.  We leave Sunday for the US and will arrive home on Memorial Day.  Its been quite a 3-1/2 months.  There are possibilities at the moment to perhaps build two boats in Japan late this year or early next.  Stay tuned for details.  I will also be lecturing and doing a demonstration at the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic, CT at the end of June.

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