The new issue of Journal du Thé has arrived, blissfully unconcerned with the wider world and its pandemics.
This beautiful magazine centres around tea, of course, and reflects the long history and traditions around tea culture. Like other magazines based on an obsession with objects and habits (Amuseum, MacGuffin) Journal du Thé happily buries itself in its niche and in so doing discovers something far more universal. Without fuss, it transports you to another place, something we could all do with a little more of at present.
As founder/editor Johanna Tagada points out in her introduction, ‘It is said that what makes a teapot a teapot is the empty space inside. Likewise, in this journal we would like to explore space – in our case the space that surrounds a cup of tea.’
What that means in practice is visits to two very different tea houses, one still open at a Shinto shrine in Japan, another a long-gone Weimar tearoom that existed alongside the Bauhaus (above); visual taxonomies of tea pots (both real and dolls-house versions), and tea scoops (below); a visit to India; and even a brief reflection on the parodox of tea leaves gathering in the centre rather then edge of your cup on stirring.
A lot of the joy of this magazine stems from the art direction and design. Imagery is to the fore, texts generally being brief and broken into small paragraphs. There is little sense of traditional magazine flow, yet the pages bear repeat flicking and viewing. There’s a sense that anything might fit in: a pencil-drawing manga story by Izumi Shiokawa is slipped in without comment (above), and elsewhere we find watercolours, conversations presented in diagram form (below), and an interview that opens with a ten-page photo-reportage from the subject’s home and workshop.
Journal du Thé presents a window into its specialist world, and rather than letting that close down the reader, it confidently opens up its unique obsession for anyone to enjoy.
Editor: Johanna Tagada
Design: Tilmann S Wendelstein
Buy a copy from the magCulture Shop