Rituals - Introducing FIRE with Sarah from Tennen Incense

Founded in 2001 by Ethan Wessel and Sarah Swartz Wessel, Tennen is a multidisciplinary architectural firm based in Phoenix, USA.

We are proud to carry their beautiful Japanese incense sticks in the shop, and was therefore inspired to create our newest Incense Ritual Bowl. 

Here we asked Sarah to share some of her thoughts on Ritual in her own life and practices. 

"We are often asked why the “leap” from architecture and design to incense and incense burners, what is the connection?  Our design process is rooted in experience, rather than on creating objects.  Daily rituals, nature, movement of the sun, inherent characteristics of natural materials are our guides in creating spaces for people to live.  We care deeply about creating spaces, and that can be done with scent as well.  When we burn incense, it defines not only a space, but also time.  Unlike a candle, which can burn seemingly endlessly, incense marks time with its burn time and self-extinguishing nature."  


In our design practice we are still quite analog.  Ethan and I draw with pens and pencils on paper ever day.  The act of drawing is a means of working through ideas and problems on design projects, not simply to create the end result of a drawing.  We enjoy the sensual act of drawing, the feel and sound of the variety of drawing tools we use, the pens and pencils and various papers chosen because of their specific characteristics.  From grabbing a fat sharpie pen and ripping off a piece of trace paper, to quickly lay down a mental image of how a building can be placed on a site. It feels very different from sharpening a hard pencil lead and drawing on a lightly toothy paper with technical drawing tools.

The simple tactile ritual of holding incense, lighting, extinguishing the flame and placing in a burner is calming and creates a pause that is outside of the normal hectic nature of our work days. It actually resets our mind. 

When we travel we always take incense.  This is a simple way to create a sense of home, it is comforting and calming. And as we burn on a relaxed weekend day, this same lighting ritual can set the tone for some quiet, peaceful moments inside our own house.

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