A warm winter’s day, a serene space high in the mountains and charming company – perfect ingredients for a celebration of beauty and nature that is at the heart of both the tea ceremony and Ikebana, held on 11th July 2021.
Our host, Margaret Price spent 20 years living and working in Japan before returning to Australia to establish her stunning tea house (Chashitsu) and Airbnb in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Stress, it seems has no place in Margaret’s world as she speaks of tea and ritual, then leads us into her tranquil garden where we cleanse our hands and spirits at the stone water basin.
It was a privilege to sit (my kneeling days are over) in the authentic tea house complete with earthy rendered walls, tatami matting and paper windows and share a truly Zen experience with such a warm and knowledgeable teacher.
The intimacy and precision of the tea ceremony ensures that your senses are heightened. There is the smell of pine-scented incense wafting from the fire pit, ladened with glowing Japanese charcoal; the sound of water simmering gently in the large black iron pot as birds chirp happily outside; the sight of our tea utensils being handled with such exquisite care and attention to detail and finally the taste of sweet, grassy Matcha – not too thick, not too thin – just right. We didn’t want to leave but our Ikebana sensei was waiting.
My insecurities about my flower arranging abilities quickly disappeared due to the expert guidance provided by Chieko Klerkx and the restrained plant selection. How could I possibly fail with only deep purple Chrysanthemums and long green Flax fronds to work with. The diversity of the striking arrangements our group produced reflected the more free-ranging Sogetsu style of Ikebana while still paying homage to the traditional principles of beauty and order.
A peaceful day, full of grace – the perfect recipe for calm in a chaotic world.