Digital Chakaiki(茶会記)

Digital Chakaiki(茶会記)for Tea in the Dark (002019-ongoing)

This page is the digital record, updated regularly for, Koans for the Anthropocene: Tea in the Dark a project by smudge studio.


Tea #9 Alchemy of Uncertainty, in collaboration with the Alcyon Center

1_Concept: Through a slow, cold brew tea process: offer a shared aesthetic experience of elemental transformation; Align our awareness and sensations with the ever-unfolding change that always is; Experience the meaningful sensations that compose the uncertainty of life itself; move in accord with the continuous transformation that makes and remakes the world.

2_Title of Tea Alchemy of Uncertainty 

3_Date July 30, 002020

4_Time/Duration: 2-3:30pm EDT

5_People present (host/guest, total #) 8 guests (located in Maine and Vermont), two hosts (Jamie and Liz)

6_Tea served: 7 grams of Ayame Kabuse

7_Tasting notes: sweet, green

8_Sweet served N/A

9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.): white tea pot, Tilt of the Earth teacups

10_Means for heating water: room temp, Cleansui filtered water

11_Weather/site/season: late July heat wave, humidity 60%, temp 90 degrees

12_Scroll/graphic/poem/object: Baisao from Twelve Impromptu Poems, Song of Seven Cups, Lu Tong


13_ Ikebana/flower/object: Cape rosehips and orange form (wool) by Kelly Hrenko


14_Produced artworks: tea caddies, invitations mailed in advance of tea (suminagashi paper), stamped Acts I-X

caddy_letter 10Acts

15_Sound N/A

16_Misc. Notes convened on Zoom

17_ Hexagram: N/A


Tea #8 This Time with Tea, in collaboration with Make it With Tea/ Summer Tea in Prospect Park 2020

1_Concept:  In preparation for This Time with Tea, in late June 002020 we received I Ching Hexagram #54: Composure/Gathering Together — a context for considering how we might individually and collectively, “concur with all things, abide in everything gathered together” within a tea preparation, making and sharing process that is vital, singular and unrepeatable. On July 25th, Six collaborators gather online and share tea, while collectively throwing coins to arrive at one, co-created I Ching hexagram. The resulting hexagram (#60 Pattern) became the inspiration for postcard artworks made by smudge studio in response to the unique, singular forces at play during the group’s shared time with tea. As an act of hospitality and ongoing connection, smudge then mailed the postcards to participants to be activated in new ways: shared, passed on, used to clarify and/or contemplate the singular, vital and unrepeatable context and collective action(s) of gathering together for the August 15th, Summer Tea in Prospect Park 2020

2_Title of Tea: This Time with Tea

3_Date: July 25th, 002020

4_Time/Duration: July 25th, 3-4:30pm, open times during August 15th

5_People present (host/guest, total #)  7 guests (Dylan Gauthier, Lisa Hirmer, Valerie Triggs, Michele Sorensen, Heather McRae-Woolf, Miranda Mahler, Ting Nichols, 2 hosts (Jamie and Liz)

6_Tea served: Asa no Yume Tamaryokucha, sencha, Nagasaki Prefecture via Kettl (smudge), all guests chose their own teas

7_Tasting notes: N/A

8_Sweet served N/A

9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.): black flat pot, cups from Marie

10_Means for heating water: stove

11_Weather/site/season: late July heat wave, guests gathered from Guelph, ON; Regina, SK; Massachusetts, Brooklyn, NY; Port Townsend, WA.

12_Scroll/graphic/poem/object:Hexagram #54: Composure/Gathering Together. “Composure is everything gathered together. Opening and delight, yielding and devoted as a river, you abide centered as a steely mountain in cloud.  In this you concur with all things, abide in everything gathered together.  See everything gathered together with a heron’s-eye gaze, and you see into the very nature of heaven and earth and the ten thousand things themselves.”  — translation, David Hinton

13_ Ikebana/flower/object: Cape Cod rosehips

14_Produced artworks: Six postcards made in response to the resulting hexagram (materials: iron, rosehips, watercolor and green tea), stamped Acts I-X



15_Sound: N/A

16_Misc. Notes: staged via Zoom

17_ Hexagram:  resulting hexagram #60, Pattern (water over lake)



Tea #7  Tea without Reason


Many of the lived, material realities of the pandemic have emerged “without and beyond reason.” 

We also don’t need Reason—or a reason—to appreciate the enigmas of daily life. Nor to drink tea. The daily drinking of tea can be an occasion for embodying and experiencing aspects of “the everyday.”  The everyday doesn’t need reason. It simply is.

2_Title of Tea: Tea in the Dark #7, Tea without Reason

3_Date: April 25- May 2nd

4_Time/Duration: 8 days, the reality of duration has become central to daily life 

5_People present (host/guest, total #) 3 Jamie, Liz, Lisa Hirmer

6_Tea served: see main post.

Though Albino sencha was chosen for the first day, since it has limited production of chlorophyll. In this way, it is “without” the “color” that typically defines the “life” of green tea. And yet it is perhaps more “here” than most tea. The limit of astringency, offers a  concentration of umami, that is invisible the human eye.  Without, doesn’t mean less.   

7_Tasting notes,  see above

8_Sweet served N/A

9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.), daily  tea ware 

10_Means for heating water N/A

11_Weather/site/season: see main post, Provincetown, MA and Guelph, ON

12_Scroll/graphic/poem/object N/A

13_ Ikebana/flower/object 5/2 for tea with Lisa












14_Produced artworks N/A, process itself

15_Sound N/A

16_Misc. Notes

17_ Hexagram Resolute #43



Tea #6 Spring Equinox

1_Concept: In the early days of COVID-19 in America, this tea was held during a fleeting moment of moving balance between night and day, darkness and daylight on Earth — Spring Equinox. This spring’s equinox, reminds us of the ongoing change that is the fabric of our very existence.

2_Title of Tea: Tea #6, Moving Balance: Practices for the Inconceivable (Spring Equinox)

3_Date: March 19th, 002020, Spring Equinox

4_Time/Duration: 11:30-12:30pm EST

5_People present (host/guest, total #) 5Jamie, Liz, Meridith, Durl and Jan

6_Tea served: Jamie and Liz: Honzu Uji Hikari matcha from Kettl; Jan, Durl and Meridith, Irish Breakfast

7_Tasting notes N/A

8_Sweet served: Provincetown: ume/plum sweets from Shioyoshi-ken, gifted to us by Kajitsu restaurant in NYC on March 6th, Urbana: Higashi for the Anthropocene by smudge studio










9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.):Tilt of the Earth 23.5º Teacups

10_Means for heating water: N/A

11_Weather/site/season: Spring Equinox, Provincetown, MA and Urbana, Illinois


A little Madness in the Spring

Is Wholesome even for the King,

But God be with the Clown —

Who ponders this tremendous scene —

This whole Experiment of Green —

As if it were his own!

— Emily Dickinson (read by Meridith Kruse)

“Here’s what was still real on the last day, BEC (Before Everything Changed). The calm, late summer waters. The glittery morning sunlight. Dad, fine tuning the rudder in that vigilant way of his—which you would expect from a guy who just quit his big career in emergency management. Me, working the sail and not fully awake. Both of us, gross from camping on the boat last night. But Home, our small and very handmade wooden boat, is looking the way she always does— free, like new, totally loved up…Trying to ward off yet another bout of anxiety about big futures, and big family secrets, I release my shoulders and stretch my neck. Then, I look out across the bow at the dazzling water, and—yeah—at the last moments of life, BEC.” from Solid Broken Changing, by Elizabeth Ellsworth (read by Jan Kruse)

“Tender assent, steely as a mountain in cloud: when they are split apart by the dragon’s inciting force there is illumination. Lightning and Thunder: when they join together, there is revelation… Act from the abiding center of things, with tender assent, and your journey will be an ascent.” –  from the I-Ching, Book of Change, #21 Biting Foresight, translated by D. Hinton, read by Jamie Kruse

“When someone learns to draw–to render–it’s the first thing that goes–the aliveness—And it’s what some artists spend their whole lives trying to get back. The SPOOKHOUSE and the MERRY-GO-ROUND are two different rides. When we say a kind of drawing is good, we may be talking about a certain kind of ride everyone can stand and understand–though the thrill is gone, it’s nice: a ride on a merry-go-round…And then there is that OTHER ride…the SPOOKHOUSE. The one with all the not-knowing that both scares and delights us to bits–to little bits of line that are the tracks we traveled on while screaming and laughing because we have no way to control the outcome–and we are in motion anyway, creating some kind of energy that still runs through the drawing even after we’ve lifted our hand away.  —from Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor, by Lynda Barry (Canada: Drawn and Quarterly, 2014), read by Liz Ellsworth.

13_ Ikebana/flower/object: Lucky Bamboo, gift of Jose Ayala








14_Produced artworks: Biting Foresight, Hexagram #21, scroll and stamp








15_Sound: brass bell, rung by Durl Kruse, at start and finish of tea

16_Misc. Notes

17_ Hexagram #21 Biting Foresight











Tea #5 Leap Day 2020

1_Concept:  On Leap Day, to not impose a “grid” upon the tea process with set forms, calculation, measurements etc. — but co-create a tea process with our guest within the duration of the micro-production’s unfolding, and in response to the variables of the day. To invite and enable various configurations of elemental forces (tea, water, heat, day, season, humans, fire, utensils) and attempt to taste and enjoy the difference the would emerge.

2_Title of Tea Leap Tea: Navigate Change Using Delight

3_Date February 29th, 002020

4_Time/Duration 1 hour, 10-11am

5_People present (host/guest, total #) Tattfoo Tan, Jamie, Liz

6_Tea served Shirakawa Asahi matcha, Kettl

7_Tasting notes: N/A

8_Sweet served: aonori (green laver) and adzuki mochi from MochiRin

9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.): three matcha bowls, two whisks, three Ippodo porcelain cups

10_Means for heating water: gas stove

11_Weather/site/season: Saturday, February 29th. 30 degree’s sunny and cloudy, 15mph wind

12_Scroll/graphic/poem/object: N/A

13_ Ikebana/flower/objec: N/A

14_Produced artworks: Transfer/stain of tea detritus to washi paper, from three tea bowls, one gifted to Tattfoo












15_Sound N/A

16_Misc. Notes: Tattfoo sat with his back to the North

17_ Hexagram: Pattern changing into Heaven





Tea #4 Mid-Winter/Thermal Minimum

1_Concept: Micro-production to offer embodied experience of temperature lag. Focused on sensation of temperature (cold to hot) moving between material bodies on “coldest day” of the year.

2_Title of Tea: Permutating Mid-Winter: Just Because We Can’t See It Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Happening

3_Date January 29th, 002020

4_Time/Duration: 1:30-3pm ET

5_People present: (guests + hosts, total 7) Oliver Kellhammer, Michelle Shofet, Dillon Cohen, Lars Chellberg, William Lamson, Jamie and Liz

6_Tea served: Fall Shincha from Kettl Brooklyn.Shincha translates as “new tea” and is a spring sencha typically offered only in spring. Kettl’s fall shincha “undergoes a 6 month refrigerated aging known as Jukusei.”  This aging is said to intensify some of the best aspects of this uncommon tea, allowing “amino acids in the tea develop while the catechin and fragrant compounds have time to mellow and integrate.” 

7_Tasting notes (see above)

8_Sweet served:  yuzu & sansho peppercorn mochi by Mochi Rin

9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.): Tilt of the Earth 23.5º tea cups,  “pancake” tetsubin and stainless steel kettle from Iseten

10_Means for heating water: gas stove (via National Grid)

11_Weather/site/season: average coldest day of the year (Mid-Winter) 41 degrees, Parade Ground park, Prospect Park, Brooklyn

12_Scroll/graphic/poem/object: A Monk asked Unman, “What will happen when the leaves become bare?” Unman said, “Golden Wind!”

13_ Ikebana/flower/object Crocus bulbs

14_Produced artworks: watercolors cards, Lomochrome purple film





















15_Sound: bell rung to demonstrate sound lag

16_Misc. Notes, color blue

17_ Hexagram #32 Moondrift Constancy “It is thunder moving together with the wind, the dragon’s inciting force moving together with the reverent and inward… Sun and moon took to the sky, and so their radiance ensures on and on. The four seasons change and change, and so their completion endures on and on…” – translation David Hinton















Tea #3 Perihelion

1_Concept: share tea on day Earth is closest to the sun by 3,109,435 miles (Perihelion: January 5, 2020 2:47 am 91,398,199 miles/ Aphelion: July 4, 2020 7:34 am 94,507,635 miles)

2_Title of Tea: Earth at Perihelion, Sharing Tea with the Sun

3_Date January 5th 002020

4_Time/Duration: 9:45am- 3pm

5_People present (host/guest, total #) Jamie, Liz  Ayano Matsumae (3)

6_Tea served: Hosen sencha (Ippodo) brewed by the sun (20 minutes, 2.5 TBSP, 1.25 cup of water). Hosen was chosen as sencha grown in full sun, rather than shade-grown tea

7_Tasting notes N/A

8_Sweet served: sun inspired round chocolates made by Ayano, cacao and orange peel









9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.): tilted tea cups, glass beaker

10_Means for heating water: Sunlight

11_Weather/site/season: early January, windy, 45 degrees F, perihelion

12_Scroll/graphic/poem/object: Ayano’s albumen prints,

13_ Ikebana/flower/object N/A

14_Produced artworks: 2 cyanotypes, of tea cups and beaker of the sun’s long shadows from south window, as tea brewed in direct sunlight (20 minute exposure)

















all things being equal, for the perihelion, foil paper, smudge studio 002019

15_Sound N/A

16_Misc. Notes N/A

17_ Hexagram #30 Radiance: “Sun and moon, fire and fire —using beauty at the hinge of things, they transform and perfect all beneath heaven. And because  the tender assent of this beauty is centered at the very hinge of things, it penetrates everywhere.” – translation David Hinton




Tea #2 Winter Solstice

1_Concept:  to make tea within the changing light, leading into (8 hours before) and out of (8 hours after) the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere — Winter Solstice.

2_Title of Tea Winter Solstice: Tilting towards Change

3_Date December 21-22, 002019

4_Time/Duration  first tea staged at 3:19pm 12/21/19, 8 hours prior to Winter Solstice, which occurred at 11:19pm ET. Second tea staged 8 hours after solstice, at 7:19am 12/22/19. 24 hour time lapse, 16 hour tea process.

5_People present (host/guest, total #) Jamie and Elizabeth (2)

6_Tea served: PM tea Tawayara Kyoto (karigane), AM Kettl, Samidori matcha

7_Tasting notes: N/A

8_Sweet served: PM tea dark chocolate, AM tea strawberry truffle w/white bean and rose, via MochiRin

9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.) PM tea Tilt of the Earth teacups, AM tea black/white matcha bowls

10_Means for heating water: N/A

11_Weather/site/season: Winter Solstice, hazy sun, first day of winter

12_Scroll/graphic/poem/object: N/A

13_ Ikebana/flower/object: Origami pyramids

14_Produced artworks: 24 hour time lapse comprised of 302 images, 3-10pm (every 2 minutes), 10pm-6am (every 15 minutes), 6am-8am, (every 2 minutes), 8am-3pm (every 15 minutes)+  two watercolors with gold foil














16_Misc. Notes

17_ Hexagram #36 Illumination Blackened: “Sun and moon sinking all vast illumination below the earth… When illumination is darkened over, it can still center your purpose at the hinge of things… using it … they use darkness to abide in illumination itself.” – translation David Hinton





Tea #1

1_Concept: to simultaneously mark the two utmost points of Earth’s moving shadow, which constitute what humans call “night/day” and experience these edges as being part of one continuously changing movement.

2_Title of Tea: Drinking Tea, Foot Before, Foot Behind (cleaving dusk/dawn)

3_Date November 19th, 002019 New York /  November 20th, 002019 Kyoto

4_Time/Duration: 16:10pm-16:45 New York/ 6:10am-6:45 am Kyoto (35 minutes). Exact moment of sun set/rise: 16:35pm EDT /6:35am JPT

5_People present (host/guest, total #): 4 guests/hosts: Jamie, Liz, Genzan, Naoko

6_Tea served: In New YorkShirakawa Asahi Matcha | 白川あさひ抹茶 (Mr. Kiyoharu Tsuji., Uji, Kyoto), Kyoto: Ippodo

7_Tasting notes N/A

8_sweets served: NYC: chestnut kinton, by Mochi-Rin, seasonal wagashi Kyoto








9_Utensils used (tea bowls/cups, tea pot, water kettle, if whisk/scoop/caddy etc.)

New York: unnamed utensils: black & white chawan, whisk and chashaku from Ippodo Tea

Kyoto: unnamed chawan by Naoko, whisk, and chashaku Banshu (beginning of deep autumn) or Fuyugakoi (protection from the storms of winter)








10_Means for heating water: N/A

11_Weather/site/season: Brooklyn, NY living room, Kyoto tatami room, private residences, Autumn, cloudy both locations


Kyoto scroll: Tea is exactly the source of the longevity” – Kan-un, 100 years old (Shizan Roshi, Kan-un-shitsu in later years), Rinzai sect, 1859-1959








NYC poem: David Hinton, via Desert (rising earth’s horizon — edge twisting toward morning sun…

13_ Ikebana/flower/object: NYC: dried ginkgo leaves, Prospect Park

14_Produced artworks: watercolor postcard, mailed to Genzan/Naoko








15_Sound NYC: bell was rung at closing of tea

16_Misc. Notes NYC hosts faced West, Kyoto guests faced East

17_ Hexagram #14 Vast Presence: “Vast presence penetrates all origins everywhere…” – translation David Hinton





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