Reflections in Tea: Copper Teahouse
March, 2008 to 2016
Interactive Tea Ceremony Performance
6′ x 7′ x 5′
The origin of “Reflections in Tea” is the ritual performance of preparing loose-leaf tea donated by SerendipiTea within special paper filters to be shared with individuals and groups during an Asian influenced tea ceremony. Initially envisioned as a mobile teahouse, the main component of “Reflections in Tea” is the invitation of the public to enter and sit within a semi-private space to share a pot of tea. Each ceremony focuses on the sharing of stories and reminiscences about tea within the context and history of one’s community. By taking the time to cross the threshold of both an actual or virtual teahouse, each participant is introduced to how the drinking of tea is practiced throughout the world as a transformative custom between our public and private lives, and the practice of welcoming a stranger into one’s home.
Participants preserve their memories by transcribing them onto sheets of tea stained notepapers made from the used filters, which are then hung together culminating in the creation of an ever-growing installation of fluttering paper quilts. From afar these quilts form an overall composition of a craggy mountain range evocative of the mountain sides where tea is cultivated, while when read up close are seen to be pieced together with over a thousand individual handwritten memoirs, reflections, poetry and drawings.