The Master’s Tea
Early summer is full of gatherings like college reunions and mine is just around the corner. As students we lived along a river in dormitory houses, each with its own flare and culture. My house was among the oldest at this institution and historically the residence for artists. The House Master’s Tea was the place to gather.
I’m not sure what to expect at my reunion but I imagine that there will be a tea party in the dormitory’s garden. Although my roommates and I have grown up, I suspect nostalgia will transport us back in time. I wonder if we will feel like Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland – children trapped in a time-warp where it is always tea-time. For sure, the party will be awkward and quite curious. But thankfully the hosts are not mad (exceptionally gracious actually); and hopefully, we won’t eat anything that shrinks us to a foot tall.
Yes, college is but a blur. Much like Carroll’s Wonderland tea party it was a play land bounded by unclear rules and endless choice. Yet, we are taught to think – to make sense of the seemingly ridiculous … to play with complex contradiction. And, that’s exactly what made it liberating time and place.
May early summer’s gatherings, graduations and reunions remind us to play. There are key principles of every craft, and one should aim to master them. But don’t be afraid to toss these rules out the window and focus on what works for you. Play with proportion, placement, and props. Play with color, texture, and mood. Invent themes, personas, and places. Whatever your passion is, explore your seemingly far-fetched ideas. Then put your masterpiece on display. In the words of Alice: some may think “You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” … Now, how about a spot of tea?