Bonnie (Soshin宗心) Mitchell is the senior-most Urasenke Chanoyu instructor in Seattle and founding director of the East-West Chanoyu Center, established in 1981. After receiving a BA degree in Art History at the University of Washington, she began seven years of intensive Chanoyu studies in Kyoto, Japan under the guidance of YANAGITA Soha and SEN Soshitsu, XV, head of the Urasenke tradition of tea. She is the only graduate of the Urasenke Professional College in the Pacific Northwest.
At the behest of SEN Soshitsu, Mitchell returned to Seattle in 1981 to teach the credited UW Chanoyu course and community tea classes in the Seattle Japanese Garden Shoseian teahouse that was rebuilt with Urasenke funding to serve as a studio classroom.
In addition to classes, Mitchell created programs for the community to experience Chanoyu in the Shoseian teahouse that continue to be offered to this day.
Mitchell also contributed to the installation of the Seattle Art Museum Ryokusuian teahouse and designed the tearooms at the Everett Community College Nippon Business and Cultural Institute, where she serves as advisor.
Ms. Mitchell received her professional name from SEN Soshitsu XV in 1981. The name Soshin means vitality/spirit. She received the Urasenke Seikyoju degree, (professor emeritus), in 2008, and the Consulate General of Japan in Seattle Commemorative Award, in 2012, for her efforts to share Chanoyu with the broader community.
Timothy (Sowa 宗和) Olson has served as the UW Chanoyu course lecturer in addition to his duties as a Chanoyu Center instructor. Olson studied English literature as an undergraduate at Portland State University and a graduate student the University of Washington. He embarked on tea studies in 1982 and received his tea name in 1999. Mr. Olson joined the East-West Chanoyu Center staff in 1999. In 2001, he was awarded the Urasenke certificate of Junkyoju, a senior rank of merit in the Way of Tea.