Last night we watched a fascinating and beautiful documentary on Chinese tea. Les Blank's film "All In This Tea" is about tea expert David Lee Hoffman, and his search, in provincial China, for authentic organic tea made on family farms using traditional methods. It's spellbinding because you see Hoffman disappearing down misty mountain paths in search of tea, and all the beautiful tea-making equipment, from gathering and drying baskets, to delicate teapots and china cups. You can look at some interesting (albeit long) YouTube films on making Chinese tea here. And there is a little clip of the 2007 film here. Hoffman established an import tea business, Silk Road Teas, where you can buy the teas shown in the film, although he has since sold that business and gone on to pursue his love of organic gardening and composting. You get a nice peek into his Marin County home and garden in the film. I also found an extensive blog on tea, Tea for Today, over here.
Artists love to see other artist's studios. Especially me. When I lived in Chicago I never missed an opportunity to go on studio tours. Artists have a way of creating unique spaces. I just got this book Open Studios with Lotta Jansdotter, and I love it. Lots of great pictures from studios in Brooklyn, Stockholm and Tokyo. I like the fact that the studios are real. They look lived in and worked in, not all neat and perfectly tidy like you see in some books and magazines. I like order and I like my studio fairly neat, but I also tolerate mess because that is part of my creative process. I have my studio at home now, and it is very different from when I rented a space. I clean up more often after I work, and I have to resist the call to do chores, but I like being able to go in there any time I feel like working. I get a surprising amount of art made in those little snippets of time I don't consider my official studio practice time!