For the past several years, I have been working on a project that creates community through the mail. I created a collection of small mailable ceramic tea pots and asked the recipients to all drink the tea at the same time. I asked each person to send back some sort of response. I did not ask for anything specific because I wanted to see which part of the project had an impact on the individual. I created a book that now houses all of the responses that have come back to me in the form of postcards, illustrations, photographs, stories, and poems. With each response, I have the photograph of the box with the teapot that was sent. For me, the process of preparing the teapot for the journey was an essential part of the project.
I received a variety of responses from my tea project. Many people chose to respond to the fact that they were part of a group project. One mentioned that it ended up being a lonely experience. Some brought their teapot to work so they could fit it into their everyday lives. Many families included their children in their tea drinking.
In addition to the book, I created a web site that contains all of the responses, and I invited the participants and others to see who else participated in the project. This project is as much about time as it is about community, and I hope I can continue it for a long time. No part of this project or process can be rushed, and I find that stopping and consciously enjoying a moment becomes more and more rare.