18 April 2009

Fallingwater, moss gardens, Japanese Soaking Tubs

I went on a little family excursion to Fallingwater last week. It is an extraordinary place-- where the boundaries between indoors and out are blurred. Ever since our visit, I have been thinking about Japanese soaking tubs and moss gardens. Probably because we walked outside the back of the house and there was a garden at hip level made from the exterior of the wall. It was very damp and drippy- planted with moss and rocks. (These images are not from Fallingwater).

The original inhabitants of the house were the Kaufmann's-- owners of the department store. They were ahead of their time in terms of conservation and sustainability in the 40's.

In the bookstore, there was a wonderful collection of books about organic gardening and Japanese design, including a book about Japanese soaking tubs with beautiful photographs of these tiny pod shaped tubs that just cradle a person like an egg.

From the book: The Japanese Bath By Bruce Smith, Yoshiko Yamamoto
"In the West, a bath is a place one goes to cleanse the body. In Japan, one goes there to cleanse the soul. Bathing in Japan is about much more than cleanliness: it is about family and community. It is about being alone and contemplative, time to watch the moon rise above the garden. Along with sixty full-color illustrations of the light and airy baths themselves, The Japanese Bath, delves into the aesthetic of bathing Japanese style and the innate beauty of the steps surrounding the process. The authors explain how to create a Japanese bath in your own home. A Zen meditation, the Japanese bath, indeed, cleanses the soul, and one emerges refreshed, renewed, and serene."