Moving at human speed
Teabowls at home

Moving at human speed

Gianfranco Chicco

You can tell that September was the busiest time at work when all I could manage to write about was putting tomatoes on handmade ceramic plates and sharing daily Instagram Stories about preparing matcha (抹茶, Japanese powdered green tea) in a proper teabowl using a bamboo whisk. Truth is, these things were a palliative to a hectic period.

Running events like London Design Festival and London Design Biennale is inherently stressful. Once I walk into the workplace I have little control on how the day is going to turn out: open office space, last minute changes, getting things done across multiple areas always on a tight deadline and dealing with hundreds of different partners.

My morning ritual of taking fifteen minutes to prepare matcha is a way to create an oasis of calm before venturing into the desert. Making the time to partake in the way of tea rather than drinking it on the go from a paper cup or using a tea bag offers the opportunity to slow down, to be present and feel more. Either as a solo practice or as part of a gathering with others, tea allows me to increase the resolution at which I experience life.

Craft moves at human speed and the tea utensils (茶道具, chadōgu) I use have been carefully developed by craftspeople moving at the right tempo. Some of the materials have been patiently aged, cured, allowed to dry before they could be transformed. Each day I choose the tea bowl, whisk or scoop that matches the mood I’m in (or want to be in) and the time of year.

I love tea, ceramics, photography and writing. Taking a moment to enjoy them all before I go out into the world provides a sense of accomplishment and boost of emotional energy that favours the kind of attitude I would like to cultivate throughout the following 12 hours, even though I know I won’t be able to remain in that serene status for as long as I’d want.

Today is the 1st of October and I’m embarking on a new professional path, one of change and regeneration. Although everything around me moves at the lightning pace of technology and finance, I’ve decided to go deeper into a phase that encourages mindful, constant progress.