“The tea-masters held that real appreciation of art is only possible to those who make of it a living influence.” (Okakura, 1906, p71)
“For ife imitates art far more than art imitates life.” (Wilde, 1905, p10)
On a warm winter Sunday we tested our long-overdue tea-party-in-a-tree, with incredible success! I had wondered if i could persuade a fit photographer friend to document the event, and he replied immediately asking if his friend could as well: two tree-climbing photographers, both keen to give up their Sunday for a whimsical morning tea! Thanks to Richard and Ben, we have some wicked pictures to share.
All were keen to follow the style of my original illustration, and so ensued a last-minute op-shop gold rush. Ben’s sister even made for him an incredible cardboard top-hat and bow tie that morning.
“Our insight does not penetrate your culture deeply, but at least we are willing to learn. Some of my compatriots have adopted too much of your customs and too much of your etiquette, in the delusion that the acquisition of stiff collars and tall silk hats comprised the attainment of your civilisation.” (Okakura, 1906, p4)
I had been scouting trees around the city for a while and was set on a very interesting row of trees with branches that spread out like a mezzanine. We circled the park and fell in love with the huge Morton Bay Fig at the other end. The lowest branch was only just within reach and the vast, dense foliage provided a surprising level of privacy.
Our equipment is under continual revision and the latest edition is a hanging basket prototype for a miniature stove and windbreak.
Tea is not as simple when you’re perched in a tree, and one begins to appreciate the process. It became much more of a teaceremony. By the time we had negotiated the passing of cups, the last to be poured was the fruitiest, most bitter cup of Irish Breakfast I have ever dared to enjoy.
At one point a couple of noisy Galahs raced beneath us..
With fresh tea in-hand, I was high on the novelty of it all. I could get used to this.
(Kakuzo Okakura, 1906, The Book of Tea)
(Oscar Wilde. 1905, The Decay of Lying)