While cleaning out clutter, I often embark on a discovery of past interests and forgotten treasures. We designate a place of storage where things are kept only for the purpose of rediscovering and re-evaluating its importance to our present lives. Why did I keep this? Is this still representative of me, something I want with me?
I discovered something the other day when exploring loft-bound boxes that sparked my past interest in pottery and ceramics – some ceramics that my husband has from his time living in Japan many years ago. I just love the textures and tones, there’s something about Japanese ceramics that is so raw and humble.
In Japanese tea history, Chanoyu is a spiritual or meditative practice not solely about drinking tea, but about the place in which we drink it, the tools we use to drink it, and the mindset to which tea takes us.
Drinking my morning tea from my office before embarking on writing is something I cherish. It’s less rushed than the on-the-go driving cup I take on location for photo shoots. I jot down thoughts, I watch the clouds, I survey the garden and I finish every drop. I love the idea of making my own tea-drinking utensils to make this morning ritual that much more purposeful.
On exploring further I discovered that Wabicha refers to the type of Japanese tea aesthetic with which Western culture is most familiar – the tea of rustic simplicity, having a sense for the true essence of an object and an ability to meditate on each and every part of drinking tea.
To practice rustic simplicity is to have taste for the beauty of rough, withered, and imperfect aesthetics and objects. My own photographic style could be described as rustic simplicity, the objects I collect and adorn my home with certainly are, and so this aesthetic that represents humble tastefulness, conspicuous of any class or wealth is so appealing to me.
And I’m not alone; we admire small craft businesses and the trend for artisan, hand-made craftsmanship and a slow, purposeful lifestyle. How funny that we still seek to humble ourselves with simplicity and how everyday acts of eating and drinking can become very purposeful. We still cherish the rustic style of living off the land and creating beautiful objects, unpolished and true to their natural materials. I’d like to learn more about pottery and ceramics, as I find the act of creating something simply with my hands and clay is a meditative practice I seek out.
Do let me know if you have stumbled upon a ceramics workshop or how to that you think I would love, or perhaps an Instagram account I should be following to get my daily fix of things made of the earth.
Lyndsey James is a photography & styling tutor with over 12 years experience as a professional photographer, and the founder of Photocraft®.
Previously a high street retailer too, Lyndsey combines her retail and commercial photography experience to help others succeed in retail online through her photography & styling events & e-courses. She also speaks at craft & business events around Europe and has worked with Etsy, Folksy, Kirstie Allsopp, Enterprise Nation, Craft Central, Digital Photographer Magazine + more.