The Intersection of Clay, Tea and Flowers in Alt Gaarz this August 26-28th

Article by Marc Lancet

A very rare event is taking place in Alt Gaarz this August, an event that the potters who are interested in Japan will not want to miss. A ceramic artist, a master from the Urasenke school of tea and a master of Ikebana flower arranging will come together for a three day exploration of the fine art of Japanese Tea Ceremony, Ikebana and the ceramics at the center of both of these Japanese art forms.

Everyone knows that you can drink tea from a clay cup and that flowers look nice in a ceramic vase. In Japan, the act of mixing powdered green tea, or arranging flowers in a vase has evolved not only as an art but as a way, a path to a more serene and conscious life.

In the Japanese Way of the Flower H.E. Davey explains, “Japan has traditionally excelled (due in part to the influence of Zen) in “spiritualizing” the relatively ordinary activities such as the preparation of tea, the military arts, and the arrangement of flowers. One’s ultimate goal in these Do forms is to understand the whole of life through a particular endeavor or singular aspect of living.”

“As a potter and sculptor my life and work has been deeply influenced by my study of Japanese tea ceramics and ceramics for Ikebana. To make ceramic forms for such a discriminating and deeply sensitive aesthetic continues to reward and challenge my every attempt’,” Marc Lancet explains. ” Let’s just consider the tea bowl (chawan) which is just one of the forms I will be demonstrating and discussing during my portion of the three day seminar. The tea bowl is at the heart of the Japanese tea ceremony; the ceremony which invites us to wake to the world. In Japan this one humble bowl has been the focus of intense aesthetic contemplation, debate and development for 500 years. One of my greatest enjoyments from engaging in Japanese Tea Ceramics and Hanairei forms is that the deep level of appreciation and understand from the practitioners who buy my work is greatly rewarding. ”

My brother Barry Lancet, whose home has for the last 32 years been in Tokyo, Japan has written eloquently of the significance of the Tea Bowl.Teeschale Marc Lancet

“The Japanese fascination with tea bowls has always been a puzzling one to many Western ceramic enthusiasts, yet a close look at both old and new pieces reveals that there is much to be said for these deceptively simple pieces. In Japan, the tea bowl has become a sort of artistic Holy Grail. Over time, the tea bowl’s central position in the tea ceremony has made it the nexus of functional, aesthetic, and spiritual demands, prized older works are breathtaking examples of the finest that Japanese ceramic art has to offer - at once noble and serene

 “ ‘If you can make a good tea bowl, you can make anything’ is almost an adage in the Japanese ceramic world and there is more than a grain of truth in it. To bring together the lip, the inner surface, the outer profile, and the concluding foot with the right mixture of clay, glaze and fire to produce the elusive balance of utility and grace is not a feat to be taken lightly. To bring them together with a touch of spirituality is magic.”

“The successful bowl will have an inexplicable serenity to its stance as if it knows what it is about.”

 - Barry Lancet, from his essay Shiro Tsujimura

Ulrich Hass representing the Urasenke-Teeschule will lead a day of the seminar focused on the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Participants will experience the tea ceremony while benefiting from the insights of Hass’ decades of experience in Urasenke Teeschule. He will illuminate through his presentations, the function, the design and tea aesthetics governing the formation of the ceramic forms used in the tea ceremony. Participants who have been making ceramic tea ware may bring some examples for Herr Hass to critique and make suggestions for each individual piece.

Nicolaus Peters has won numerous awards for his Ikebana artistry.  He is a renowned internationally sought after Ikebana artist who has presented countless lectures, demonstrations and exhibitions. He will also lead a day of activities focused on the Japanese art of flower arranging. He will demonstrate Ikebana while illuminating its principles and describing ceramic forms ideal for the art of flower arranging.

Japanese Tea Ceremony (Chanoyu) and Flower Arrangement (Ikebana) were responsible for raising pottery to the level of high art in Japan. Participants in this seminar will work with Marc Lancet, Ulrich Haas, and Nicolaus Peters, gaining insights into the Japanese capacity to elevate all artistic disciplines to the highest levels of achievement.

In this remarkable seminar Kalkspatz brings together a remarkable roster of dedicated artists in an unprecedented three days of concentrated learning. These three interrelated Japanese fine art “do” or paths are rarely, if ever, combined in this way for such a thorough introduction.  The insights gained will fuel creative work for years to come. Learn from three accomplished artists who have all studied and even taught in Japan. This pottery centered investigation into the fine arts of Japan is an opportunity not to be missed.

Pictures: Ulrich Haas at a tea ceremony, Tea Bowl by Marc Lancet, Tea Bowl by Markus Böhm




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