Tea and Ink

Art of the Senses – 2nd June 2018 – 31st July 2018

Tea and plant dyed Welsh wool clothHanging tea dyed cloths

A group exhibition to celebrate the 3rd Anniversary of Boundary Art Gallery in Cardiff Bay. I am showing linen and hemp dyed cloths that echo the cloths used in the Japanese tea ceremony called ‘Fukusa’ or ‘Kobukusa’. Made for cleaning the tea bowls used in the way of tea, these cloths are dyed in a ceremonial spiritual method, with specific timings and made to exact sizes, varying from region and type of ceremony.

I’ve used natural Chinese teas and also the traditional oriental blue Indigo process to make inks and dyes that are then used to colour rag paper, natural hemp and linen cloths. The cloths are re-dyed many times, sometimes pleated and folded using Shibori methods, with colour, tone and pattern gradually built up over many hours and days, evoking Welsh and Oriental landscapes and ink work.

There will be changing hanging cloths dyeing in situ in various teas and indigo for the duration of the exhibition.

I’m also showing the five ‘Tree Cloths’ made for the gallery during my Our Orchard residency at University Hospital Llandough last year. These textile panels made with antique bed sheets have been eco-dyed and printed with five of the trees that have given the names to wards at Hafan y Coed, the mental health unit at the hospital. My work made for the Orchard project promotes mental and physical well-being through interaction and contemplation with the natural environment and the Japanese practice of Shirin Yoku – Tree bathing.

Willow Tree Cloth, 2017

In recent years there has been a re-discovery of the importance of sensory experience to our daily lives, where our senses provide an integral role in our well-being, social interactions and our appreciation of food, music and the arts.

Our five senses – taste, touch, smell, sound and sight, are a direct line into how we perceive the world and ourselves.

Through sight, we are enabled to appreciate a work of art, which in turn awakens the viewers’ other senses.

Though we may not actually be able to feel or hear objects and scenes portrayed in a painting, the Artist invites us to use a variety of senses when exploring a work of art. We are provoked into imaging the textures, smells and even tastes of what is depicted, thus bringing the painting to life.

In many cultures and traditions we find similar artistic and sensory integrations.

For example, Japanese tea bowls are both valued for their visual and tactile aspects, and also for their ceremonial role when filled with warm aromatic teas. A term for a diverse set of art practices, utilizing sound and listening as the subject matter and material, is known as ‘Sound Art’. Some peoples’ perception is that ‘hearing is another form of seeing’.

 Here at ‘Boundary Art’, you are invited to ‘hone’ into your art senses, where these multi-sensory artworks’ can be explored through the lens of each of the five senses.

Featuring original work from:

Ping-Gang Cheng

Catherine Lewis

Lee John Phillips

Max Cahn

Kate Theodore

Spencer Penn

Teddy Hunter