When it comes to self-discovery, the Wu sisters, Hsiao-Hui, Hsiao-Chen, and Hsiao-Jou, have found a special secret: to harness the power of doing nothing. That’s right. “People are very busy nowadays and have a lot of things to do,” says Hsiao-Hui Wu, the eldest sister. This is what prompted her and her sisters to open the Letterpress Teahouse and Caketrees Studio – which is part teahouse, arts education center, exhibition space, and letterpress printing facility. This June, the Tzu Chi Center had the distinct pleasure of videoing in with the Wu Sisters from Taipei, Taiwan for our signature talk program, C.A.F.E. 229.
The webisode rounds out the second season of our program, which focused on the role of creativity in practicing compassion in action. Each of the Wu sisters brings a unique talent to their business and sisterhood; Hsiao-Hui is a musician who plays the Guqin, a traditional Chinese string instrument, Hsiao-Chen is a flower arranging artist, and Hsiao-Jou is a master of the Taiwanese tea ceremony. Their father, Kuo-Hsien Wu, instilled in them a love for Taiwan’s rich culture and arts from a young age, himself having practiced traditional letterpress printing since 1965.
On the topic of ‘nothingness,’ Hsiao-Hui elaborates that their business is to counteract the mindless business of modern life. “We named it “nothingness” [in Mandarin Chinese]” she explained, “hoping that we can have nothing in mind, be carefree when facing everything in life. Although there is no way to really achieve nothingness in the mind, to be carefree… this can be a direction, a goal.”
Part of it, Hsiao-Hui shares, was inspired by her personal search for meaning from a young age. “It started 20 years ago, at which time I was curious about life. I thought, is this what I’m going to do for the rest of my life – just work, make money, buy a house, buy a car?,” she asked herself; “is there another way of life that I don’t know about? Is there a more important meaning to life?”
Watch our captivating talk in full to learn about the journey the Wu sisters took to encounter and uncover their truest selves – and see a beautiful performance by Hsiao-Hui Wu on the Guqin.
Hsiao-Hui, Hsiao-Chen, and Hsiao-Jou Wu founded the Letterpress Teahouse and Caketrees Studio in 2015 along with their father, Kuo-Hsien Wu. Longtime residents of Taiwan, each of the sisters went on individual journeys in pursuit of life’s answers that took them backpacking around the world. Each of them, too, began to immerse themselves in distinct, traditional Taiwanese arts that they have shared with those who visit their studio, cafe, and exhibition space in Taipei, Taiwan.
The philosophy of their business embraces the art of slow living, and the embracing of ‘doing nothing,’ as a means to relax, let go, enhance connection with others, and discover one’s true self. To learn more about their work, visit their website and follow the Wu sisters on Facebook.
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