Like most artists, my studio space is a specialized area with many tools, myriad materials, and lots of works in progress. To the untrained eye, it’s a mess.
Honestly, my mind is no different. It jumps from one thing to another with no rhyme, reason, or warning. I make lists daily just to keep myself on task. I try to take time away from work to recenter myself and recharge, but it’s so difficult. Luckily, I’ve discovered tea.
My mom has always loved English tea. Not just the actual teas, but the ritual that goes along with it. The timing, serving, snacks, tiny spoons, everything. As a kid, I never really understood the draw. I just wanted the cucumber sandwiches, and as much sugar as she’d let me put in my cup. Lately though, I found that I really understand. I read a lovely book called “The Book of Tea” about Japanese tea ceremonies.
It’s not a tutorial type book. It’s more of a documentation of the culture of tea. Every single thing in the ceremony has a reason. It all celebrates subtlety, beauty, peace, and calm; all the things I could really use more of in my life. The precision of preparation and ritual in the tea house demands all your attention, even in its simplicity. There is perfection in simplicity, impossible to achieve when distracted.
Although I can’t have a tea house of my own yet, I’ve started planning a space in the spare room for tea. The room catches the afternoon sun, and there’s a mimosa tree right outside the window frequented by chickadees, sparrows, and cardinals. I have the perfect table, low to the ground, with lots of space for a tea set. I just need to make a sitting pillow for myself.
Losing myself in making the perfect cup of tea is so soothing. I have tea almost every day now. I really look forward to having a time and place just for tea.
Here’s a wonderful list of teas I found! It has tea from all over the world, and how people usually take it. I’m going to try them all one day! I’ve checked off English, South African (thanks to my best friend), and Chinese pu-erh so far.