ISSUE 97  |  Autumn in Japan

The Slow Lane: An Informal Tea Ceremony

November 05, 2013 12:00 PM

BY Sarah Lonsdale

Japanese tea ceremonies can feel serenely beautiful and a little tortured at the same time (for the record, I’ve participated in a few). The rituals and precision are undeniably restrictive, but the act of coming together in a small space, sitting in silence, and slowing down to share a bowl of tea with a group of people can prove transformative. We recently spotted the work of Japanese ceramic artist Misa Kumabuchi and love the way she uses her ceramic pieces to create small tea parties where people gather over matcha–a laid-back version of the tea ceremony. “There is a lot of sound we encounter in our daily life,” says Misa; her goal is to get people to share tea and “breathe slowly.” She’s based in Nishinomiya, located between Osaka and Kobe; for more on her ceramics, go to Mushimegane Books (the name of her workshop, books are not actually involved).

Above: Earlier this year, Misa held a gathering at Gallery Maruni in Kobe, Japan. On display are bowls that she uses for serving matcha, the traditional tea ceremony tea.

Above: A selection of white designs, each piece handmade. Mushimegane Books’ ceramics are available online through OEN shop in the UK. 

Above: A tray with tea bowl and bamboo whisk. 

Above: Matcha being whisked. Made from dried tea leaves crushed into a powder, it is the most refined tea in Japan.

Above: A layer of frothiness is integral to the uniquely bitter-tasting tea.

Above: Before tea, guest admire the ceramics work on display.

Above: Designs in celadon and white porcelain. The footed cups, known as Pyocotans, can be used for storing small objects, such as tea lights or plants.

Above: Misa encourages people to enjoy the different textures and forms of her ceramics.

Above: To explore more of Misa Kumabuchi’s work, see our previous post The Quiet Storm: Organic Ceramics from Japan

Looking for other inspired pottery?  Shop the Ceramics section in our Tabletop gallery.