Wednesday, October 31, 2007

teapot no. 100 - team huddle

Finished my second set of 100 teapots.

Here are my helper pots, the models I used for many of my teapot drawings and paintings.

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Here are the two sets:
#1: 100 teapots. Dec. 22, 2005-Oct. 2, 2006.
#2: 100 more teapots. Dec. 8, 2006-Oct. 31, 2007.

teapot no. 99 - bring your cups!

See the nearly completed set here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

new 98

Here's teapot no. 98 with the handle that I forgot to make in the first version (scroll down to the post before this one).

teapot no. 97 and 98

Teapot no. 98

Teapot no. 97

Friday, October 26, 2007

teapot no. 96

Cut paper from a Japanese lunar calendar glued on paper with watercolor, sumi ink and brush.

getting closer!

Here's a legend to the brush characters:

土 earth
月 moon
茶 tea
心 heart/mind
水 water
火 fire
星 star
楽 joy

Click on picture to get a larger view.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Do the parts = the whole?

Not meant to be a heavy question to ponder. These are parts of the whole.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


This is teapot no. 94 of my second set of 100 teapots. Only six more to go. I remember doing my first one. Each one I do still feels like the first one. Here's my written description that accompanies my second set of teapots on flickr:

[8 December, 2006]

It's official. I have embarked on my second set of 100 teapots. I had thought to do 100 architectural structures, 100 mandalas, 100 different cactuses, or maybe 100 humans.... However, my natural inclination leads me again and again to enjoy breathing and being over a cup of tea. I enjoy the preparation of tea, the color and form of the teapots, and the tea releasing its full flavor in the proper temperature water.

If you practice anything deeply, you can know everything, touch everything. A good tea host in the Japanese tea ceremony, for example, invites the guest(s) to share a moment of peace over a bowl of freshly whisked green tea. Discussion in the tearoom may include poetic or stylistic elements of the calligraphed poem hung in the tokonoma (special tearoom altar), admiration of the seasonal chabana (floral arrangement), the glaze, shape, and style of teabowl, as well as discussion of the potter, the poet/calligrapher of the poem, and other bits of history.

A tea host must know history, poetry, brush calligraphy styles, pottery, chabana, and be fluid and fluent in the art of tea. I'm not a tea host of the type I just described, though I've had the opportunity to host Japanese tea and be an invited guest in an authentic Japanese tearoom.

I enjoy simple tea. I like taking the time to prepare my tea in small teapots: Japanese green teas, Chinese and Taiwanese oolongs, green, white, and yellow teas, pu-erhs, and Indian teas. Making tea slowly, I really taste the tea, my surroundings, my companions, and my breath.

All this to say, there are mandalas in teapots. And, some teapots are little architectural wonders. So, here is my growing second set of 100 Teapots.

See the first set here.

茶茶茶 [Cha-cha-cha]

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Will she do a third set of 100 teapots?!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Winds of change

Autumn has finally come to Tucson. The wind blew strongly today and there was a chill in the air. The sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the blue blue sky. At night I am sleeping with a blanket now and I actually wore a pair of jeans, a long sleeved blouse, and closed shoes today instead of the shorts and sandals I've been wearing since April/May. When I was visiting Chicago a couple of weeks ago, I saw a lot of tall green leafy trees. Now I am thinking, I'd like to live in a place with more green, like in Vermont or Japan or maybe Iowa. Maybe not Iowa. Somewhere with a bit more rain and less extreme summer heat. An ocean breeze might be nice, too. And good soil. I will probably always miss the desert no matter where I go.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday morning breakfast

It's a fine Sunday morning, cool outside (57ºF/14ºC) with a slight breeze. I made vegetable pancakes and ate some standing while they cooked. Then I sat down to more pancakes with oolong tea and "Bach for Breakfast" (a CD of that name).

These pancakes are my version of the yummy Japanese pancake known as okonomiyaki. I make mine different each time. This batch of batter has broccoli, carrots, freshly grated ginger root, shredded purple cabbage, green onion slices, and shiitake mushrooms. The flour is a mixture of whole wheat pastry flour, spelt, and yellow corn meal. I use soy milk instead of regular milk, baking powder, sea salt, and eggs (according to the basic pancake recipe from the classic Tassajara Bread Book). I eat them dipped in soy sauce.

See that little round pancake? That's an entire meal for an ant family.

The first batch is a test batch. The cast iron skillet is still getting to the right temperature and the first few pancakes are always too oily.

Variations: add grated butternut or acorn squash, little cubes of tofu, sesame seeds, eda mame, hijiki, arame, or wakame seaweed, yellow onion instead of green...

Besides enjoying the music, I like the illustration by Josh Gosfield on the CD cover of Bach for Breakfast; it reminds me of Maira Kalman's style: light and whimsical, yet with weight due to the oil or acrylic. My favorite piece on the CD is the very joyful, Concierto in A for Oboe

Friday, October 19, 2007


For the past two months or so, I haven't posted any teapot drawings and paintings from my 100 more teapots set. So here are teapots 89 through 93 with 93 on top. And at the end, a couple of photos of my yixing tea set with puerh tea and a recent yummy breakfast.

This morning I enjoyed the freshness of cool autumn air (55ºF/13ºC) and sipped hot assam tea with my breakfast. I had a noodle breakfast, which consisted of soba noodles with a little soy sauce, sesame oil, and green onion; a bowl of lightly steamed kale; and a bowl of miso soup with wakame, bonito flakes, a drop of sesame oil, and a few green onions.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

my art show at Bentley's

On Monday evening, I put up my art show at Bentley's House of Coffee & Tea in Tucson, Arizona. It'll run from October 15th until November 15th and consists of 36 pieces of my original watercolors, cut paper collages, acrylics, and giclée prints from my first set of 100 teapots and some from the second set of 100 teapots.

All my teapot paintings, drawings, and prints are for sale, plus my boxed blank card sets with my teapot paintings (8 cards/8 envelopes for $15 plus $3 shipping within the USA). If you are reading this and cannot make it to my show but want one of my pieces, email me at kumotohi AT

If you are in Tucson, go have a look and eat some of Bentley's tasty offerings.

Also, my cyber friend, illustrator/artist, Cindy Woods has had this video talk of illustrator Maira Kalman on her blog. I am putting it on my blog, too, because I am a big fan of Maira Kalman's art and the talk took place in Monterey. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Odaiko Sonora

Here are the watercolor sketches I did while listening to taiko group Odaiko Sonora performing at the UA Poetry Center Housewarming Festival.

It's fun and challenging to paint/sketch people in movement. I need more practice at letting the pencil-brush-pen flow as the movements go.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Event-filled weekend

Yesterday was the Tucson LGBT- Gay Pride - Celebration at Reid Park and today was the UA Poetry Center's Housewarming Festival, both really fun. At Gay Pride there were lots of fun offerings. I did a 40-minute yoga class, drank a fresh fruit smoothie blended in a bicycle-powered blender (care of B.I.C.A.S.), went to the reiki booth for a reiki healing session (and a tarot reading!), learned about the labrynth one can walk at Grace St. Paul's Episcopal Church, found out about the LGBT Jewish Inclusion Project, and listened to the taiko group Odaiko Sonora while I sketched them in pencil. I added the watercolor after I got home.

Today at the UA Poetry Center's Housewarming Festival I listened to poets Jane Miller, Charles Alexander, Steve Orlen, Billy Collins, and others reading their poetry and I roamed around the beautiful new Poetry Center. And once again, I enjoyed the Japanese style drumming of Odaiko Sonora. I'll post the sketches I made of today's taiko performance as soon as I have the chance to watercolor them; they're still in light pencil.

Tomorrow afternoon I will hang my month-long art show at Bentley's House of Coffee & Tea. The pieces I am showing at Bentley's are a mix of original watercolors, a few acrylic paintings, plus 14 giclée prints from my first set of 100 teapots.

The UA Poetry Ctr event ended with a procession led by Odaiko Sonora and performance troupe Flam Chen to see Flam Chen's finale (the photos at the end of this post).

And more UA Poetry Center Housewarming photos. I was amazed at the crowds of people come to support poetry, poets and writers, the written and spoken word, book arts, books, and art--a happy and festive occasion indeed.