Untangle, Issue 2: Tea Houses

Spring 2023

Tea Houses is an illustration submitted and published in the ︎︎︎Untangle Issue 2: Tea

Artist Statement

I always liked drawing the shapes and details of buildings so I thought it would be fun to draw different shapes of teapots. When I went on walks with my mom in San Francisco, she as an architect would always say how she likes the pillars of this or the dimensions of that, so I became hyper-fixated on that kind of structure and form. The way I learn has always been through observation, even with the way I understand my culture. I am Chinese American, but grew up in Japan and moved later to the states. Growing up, I didn’t learn Cantonese, so everything I know about my culture was based on what I saw.

I grew up seeing a lot of Japanese tea ceremony pots and types of glass pots for blooming flower tea. Blooming flower tea starts out with a little ball of tea leaves encased around a dried flower and when you pour hot water over it starts to bloom. The glass pot is designed to be a case that presents the tea flower as it is blooming. It’s interesting how the material or form you choose for the teapot changes the flavor or brewing process, but it’s beautiful to also see how the teapot is shaped for the function and presentation of the way you serve tea.

I decided to draw these teapots because illustration helps me notice the details of what I’m observing. At first, I was just searching for images of the East Asian teapots that I’ve always known, but the algorithm online took me to more Western-style pots and experimental forms I wasn’t expecting over time.

Untangle BU

The free student-produced virtual magazine ︎︎︎Untangle explores the question: “What is it like to be an Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) student at BU?” Untangle zines center around AAPI experiences at Boston University through a collection of revealing essays, photo illustrations, poetry, and more.