This is the design story of one of Jean’s paintings for our “The Wizards and the Whale” children’s book. Jean has always been inspired by the Asian designed cranes, especially those found in Japanese woodblock prints and paintings, in Korean folk art, and the cranes in many Chinese screens. Here is a decorative Japanese crane next to one of Jean’s.
Jean’s paintings of teapots and bamboo have a common thread. In China and Japan, bamboo objects are part of the ritual of the tea ceremony, like the whisk and ladle, and even the bamboo tea house in Japan.
Here is Jean’s painting of bamboo that was part of a pop-up card next to bamboo ladles and one of our favourite books on the subject.
Alongside the shapes and colours are the many patterns of the bamboo stalk and leaves, that contrast with the smooth surfaces of the porcelain and pottery teapots.
This juxtaposition of different elements leads to the creation of new textures and designs. Here, the blue-hued bamboo frames a brown Chinese teapot and a smooth celadon teacup.
Bamboo is an inspiring plant for Jean and has always been in her life, from living and travelling all over Asia to growing in our garden here in Umbria. Even Jean’s art studio is surrounded with bamboo views.
Bamboo is a symbol of flexibility and strength, and finding the balance between these leads to harmony, and harmony is what the tea ceremony provides. Teapots and bamboo are both a juxtaposing yet harmonious combination.