1840 Journal

Meet the artisans, discover their expertise, and share their passion.


Taking It Easy: Slow Living

27 May 2019

“I don’t have time.” We say this so often, all the while knowing that we should instead take our time… but we’re unsure about exactly how to do that. Why don’t we get inspired by slow living? 

At a Snail’s Pace

In contrast to 21st-century performance-based society, the slow living movement encourages taking your time in all aspects of your life. It comes from slow food, which started in Italy at the end of the 1980s to protest against junk food and the overconsumption of food.

The word also serves as an acronym to represents the movement’s four basic values:

S = Sustainable, being renewable and eco-friendly.

L = Local, focusing on buying local and local production.

O = Organic, favouring organic production.

W = Whole, being as little transformed as possible.

Slow living is as much about the pace of life as it is about the choices of consumers (buying more ethical fashion instead of fast fashion, for example, or buying local and seasonal food). The movement's followers encourage spending more time and being fully present during each action instead of rushing to cross everything off on your to-do list. It's a way to carpe diem on the daily!

Many of the artisans who are members of Fabrique 1840 have chosen this path in order to reconnect with their environment. Their creations reflect this influence. To learn more about this way of viewing life and art, we spent some time speaking with Trudy Crane from Lookslikewhite and Patrice Didier from La Compagnie Robinson.

Family Time with La Compagnie Robinson

“We could define what it means to ‘live well,’ but for me, it means taking the time to do things well. Doing things well takes time. And sometimes, to do things well, you need to know how to do nothing,” says Patrice of La Compagnie Robinson, a company located in the wilds of Brigham, Quebec. The designer prefers not to rush while making his leather goods, pieces like leather valet trays, card holders, and wallets.

In order to spend time with his daughter, Patrice prefers to only have a part-time job and to always sets aside time for… doing nothing! “You always end up doing something, but you let life's flow decide how you spend that time,” the creator explains. “It's always cool to let yourself drift through meetings, discoveries, or desires.” He also hikes the mountain once a week to get some fresh air and recharge.

How did he get here? “I have always been impressed by people who are able to say no in order to maintain a balanced life. Our health, our family life, the connection we have with our community, these are all elements that matter in accomplishing our work.” For Patrice, adopting a slower pace of life is not only a reflection of his work as an artisan, but also a global philosophy that relates to who he is. “We want to surround ourselves with people who take the time to listen, who are interested in who we are. I want to be the kind of person with whom people feel good,” he says.  

The Holistic Approach of Lookslikewhite

For Trudy, the ceramist behind Lookslikewhite, “Slow living is being conscious of our choices and how they affect us and how they impact the environment.” She sees things in a holistic way, every day, so that every action is considered and measured. “For me, it’s not about being slower—we’re all in a race!—but rather about asking myself what really matters to me and how I can make space for it in my life.” Her ceramic pieces, like coffee cups for instance, come in a delicate white with a minimal design. 

Her thoughts stem naturally from her creative work. “Being an artisan necessitates being a part of the slow movement. First of all, creation takes time!  You have to act with care, be delicate, and also consider the type of material you're using in order to be more sustainable!” Trudy quit her job in the fashion field in order to devote herself entirely to designing and opened a ceramics studio in Montreal's Mile End. “This change also helped me to be more aware. It gave meaning to my everyday life.”

4 Actions for a Slower Life, According to Trudy

1. Be eco-conscious, particularly in reducing your use of plastic, and understand that we are all connected.
2. Become vegan or cook as often as possible.
3. Meditate every day.
4. Contribute to the community, especially by speaking about causes that you care about and by buying artisanal products.

Being an artisan and adopting a simpler way of life, like Trudy and Patrice, isn't only about creating beautiful functional objects by hand; it's also about creating meaning. As the ceramist says so well, “All I am trying to do is to bring meaning to the lives of people. I hope that my pieces will help them enjoy their meals and take the time to really taste it.”