So much has happened the past few months. The holidays were a whirlwind of incoming products: beautiful ceramics by Sarah Wolf, Katie VonLehman, vintage Japanese items, The Granite, Mondays (from Brooklyn) and more. Sweets, jams, chocolates and teas arrived along with new wholesale accounts and curious faces in my tiny studio storefront. Selling quilts and Shaker boxes (there are still a few left if you’re interested) was a thrill in the fall and early winter and I’m so happy to have shared these handmade treasures from British woodworker Ryan Quince, Meg Callahan and Louise Gray. That show sold out mostly, and now it's winter in the tea gallery with a group show from American artists, east coast to west coast that I call "Concealment." This show feeds my soul daily, I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such creative spirit.
I was so busy, (I’m still mostly a one woman operation) I barely had time to realize there was a snowstorm brewing or that the cold I always fear had already penetrated my bony physique. Then the holidays simmered down, I got caught up on paperwork and realized we were in the dark short days of winter. With 2016 approaching like the whipping winds of the Columbia Gorge and a deep exhaustion filling my body and soul, I was in need of rest and quiet. I hunkered down at home with fires, family and food. Six days into the New Year and I was still in hiding, like a torpor in need of its annual darkness.
All of that hibernation got me thinking deeply about winter and darkness and what it all means. Growing up in Southern California, this season was not familiar, and, that first Portland winter of 2006, clutching my newborn baby and resisting all change upon me, I was surprised by its relentless extremes: the moodiness, the long stretches of wet and grey, the lull of growth (except for my little baby boy), with little promise too far off. I got through it with tea, friendship, family and my curiosity of new horizons. My view from ten floors up of the waterfront flowering cherry trees assured me every March that sunny bright days were ahead. (It just takes a long time here in the Pacific Northwest, but it's worth the wait.)
And now, more than a decade later, I wanted to analyze this sense of concealment, solitude and quiet. I read and researched this idea of concealment and used these ideas to curate a small group show in the tea gallery based on this interesting time when everything feels quite literally dead, yet not truly dead, just dormant…in hiding. I invited Veronica Martin, a friend and poet, to read her work and lure us out of our stucco wooden caves. It was a fantastic day at the shop/gallery. So many new faces, awestruck with Martin’s words. Read more of her work here: http://vestoj.com/pocket-notes/ or on her website.
We can’t see what is concealed. And truly, there is so much going on underground and inside. It’s not as if anything has really stopped, it’s just taking a break. (Every being, every living thing should do this, in my opinion.) And then, the markers of life arrive. They always do, and, every time, I’m taken aback. First it’s the witch hazel, the Dafne, the helleborus, the camellias. I begin to revel in my own shock that the earth will warm up, turn green and produce fruit. What a miracle! And without winter, there is no spring. Without death, no life…The yin, the yang. How odd that this is cemented in my brain, yet still not to trust when those short days persuade me to go underground.
I want to thank the winter muses who got me through this dreary time once again. And to thank Veronica Martin and the following artists for “coming out” of hiding and being at T Project. More tea I say! Please see photos of the artwork on the website and at T Project’s Facebook page. And…spring is around the corner, bravo Planet earth. I promise to come out of hiding and write more blogposts this year…on tea and other fun topics. Please tune in and send your friends to order tea! I still think I'm making some of the best blends around.
Gabi Villasenor & Michael Bunsen, knows together as “Telepathy Today”
Heather Peters, Oakland, California
Marjorie Dial, Portland, Oregon, Post Bac, at OCAC
John Beech, Brooklyn, New York
Laura Hughes, Portland, Oregon, recent transplant from NYC
Kati Von Lehman, Portland, Oregon
Theo Gelber, Portland, Oregon