Surface Design Show 2023

The teahouse

The teahouse is the first collaboration between Clayworks and Sasa works. Its intention is to create a space where the individual can intimately experience the relationship between natural materials and hand craft.

The teahouse as a concept has a long history and philosophy. The architecture and the rituals performed within them create and hold space for an internal exploration and conversation about the nature of beauty and the self.

Each material element of a teahouse is considered for its individual aesthetic and sensory response also for its role and contribution to the creation of an atmosphere of harmony and balance.

Wood harvested from a local forest and hand sculpted into the asymmetric frame retains the essence and form of the tree and forest from which it came. From this hang textiles naturally loomed and dyed with indigo and cutch and stitched by hand.  Subtle imperfections in the nature of working by hand tell us stories about the makers and craftsmen and lend the space a humility and humanity that nurtures intimacy and quiet contemplation.

Clay and Japanese Shoji paper on the interior surfaces of the teahouse initiate an aesthetic and tactile reflection on texture and colour while at the same time connecting those who encounter the space with the earth and its elements.

Light and sound are also artistically considered. In the eaves of the roof the shadows are preserved and protected leaving abstract negative space in which the imagination can dwell. Gestural brushstrokes of light across the clay invite our hands to explore and complete an experience our eyes cannot fully describe. Worked cloth adds natural movement to the space, warming and softening the acoustics of the interior.

The creation of a Teahouse is a practice of understatement. Each material and every human touch must contribute only what is needed and nothing more to both function and form in a way that allows those who enter into the quietness to experience beauty in a way that is unique to them.

Collaborators on the project:


Sasa Works (Craig & Isik)

PSLab Lighting Design (Rania Aboud)

Indigo Works (Liza Mackenzie)

Working Cloth (Lauren MacDonald)

Photographs by Edmund Sumner.