From the last blog posting I have done more research into Chinese and Japanese tea drinking. The particular area that has interested me has been the association with Zen and Buddhism. I really want to pursue the idea that tea drinking is relaxing and meditative.
Symbol for Zen
One prominent symbol associated with Zen is stacked pebbles. The symbolism connected to balance and peace. I tried to look for where this symbol comes from. it could be linked to a stacked stone cairns that act as waypoints on pathways , perhaps these forms of cairns are symbolic of a spiritual waypoint for guidance .
A possilbe reason this particular form of smooth pebble is associated with Zen is because of their use in hot stone spa treatments. Spars are associated with relaxation and meditation. A host of initial ideas were generated from my research. I have chosen to commit to the idea of making a tea set in the form of stacked stones to incorporate the ideas of relaxation and meditation into tea drinking .
Hot stone spar treatment
I have thought about the possible components for the set and how to make them. It seems that ceramics will be the best material to work with. If I want to get a true stone effect I will have to collect stones to cast in plaster. Making my own stones from clay is a option but I want the stones to have the texture of real stones. To achieve this I need to make multi part mould’s for slip casting. The Multi part-casting workshop has been really valuable in this project. I am really quite enthralled with the casting process. It’s very methodical and relaxing.
mould from multi part mould workshop
After completing the workshop I went to collect stones at my local reservoir. It was a wet and windy day but I found what I was looking for and many extras. I thought it would be better to bring more than I needed in case a second inspection showed a flaw in a vital stone.
Bottoms reservoir – stones collected from here
Playing the stones by stacking them in different combinations has helped to solidify and finalise the form that the set will take. I wanted to know other methods of casting so I did the lost wax-casting workshop. It was very interesting; it has a lot of potential uses in future projects, especially using organic material.
Carved wax stamps for lost wax casting workshop
Currently I am on track with all the stone molds made and ready to be used at the start of next week leaving enough time to get all things glazed by deadline. So far I’m quite pleased with my project and the way it has developed, it helps that I drink a lot of tea to get in tune with the subject matter.