At this stage in my process I like to have a “re-think” to understand where I am and to see if there is anything that can be improved. This re-think involved me looking back through all my research and findings again, to reminding myself of my early research. I feel it is important to remind myself of this early research at this stage so as to be able to improve my designs at this point. I consider all the research I have done to be valid and feel it can help me even now, In fact from conducting this process I was able to clear my mind of the clutter that was crowding it and see clearly again the direction that I had started out on. From looking back I can see that I had wandered from the path slightly in the sense of where I wished the project to go from the offset. Realising this I have been able to re-evaluate my current design. Below you will be able to see a quick sketch of a new design; this design incorporates three pieces, a water jug, a tea pot and a serving pot. These three items are now to form the main part of the product.
From looking at my research as a whole I was able to see that my user did not want, or need, a full Chinese tea set. I was also able to understand that the full set is not truly necessary to achieve the level of harmony that I wanted the user to experience. I am now focusing the product in a much more minimalist way, by removing many of the time consuming processes that are present within the traditional tea ceremony. I have found that my users consider these processes lengthy and unnecessary, stating that if they were part of the product they would simply skip them. From this I have decided to concentrate on the process of boil temperature, steeping and pouring. This new process allows for two variables, boiling temperature and steeping time, both variables that I intend to help the user to understand without removing the sense of a personal experience. I feel that the use of mechanical timers such as sand timers and mechanical thermometers could be appropriate.
I also feel that the essence of tea should still be a strong asset within the product, through scent I intend to achieve this. I have been prototyping lots of designs for cups in the hope that I will be able to create one that enhances the scent of the tea without talking away from the aesthetic and functional properties of the cup itself. I have been looking into aperitif cups (see in image below) and I’m in the process of making some ceramic replicas. It has come out from my research that a cup of tea is much more meaningful and enjoyable if drank form a cup personal to the user. Because of this I am working with the concept of the user potentially using a found cup in place of the one within the product, and hence render the internal cup unnecessary.
I believe that the next stage involves my undergo wing the process of making some of the main pots through the process of slip casting. Once I have these made and understand how the process operates I will be able to allocate my time much more effectively.