Friday, November 30, 2018

I'm Drinking More Tea

My friends and family know me as an inveterate coffee drinker.  One of my very favourite gifts is a package of coffee beans from some unusual independent roasterie, or a Starbucks gift card to use whenever I'm in the City.

For years I've maintained that I only drink tea when I have a cold.  I drank tea exclusively when I was in university -- until I fell in love with coffee on a trip to Italy in my early twenties.  I moved from coffee with hot milk (50-50), to coffee with regular milk and sugar, to coffee completely black, and the darker the better -- and I've seldom returned to tea.

That said, I do keep some green tea bags in the bathroom to use when I soak in a hot tub.  Green tea and Epsom salts make a very soothing hot soak after a slog mowing the lawn or shovelling the walks and driveway!

But drink it?  Not so much.

Until the last week or so.  Until I watched what Libby Williamson does with them, in the episode she recorded with The Quilt Show.  You see, she uses tea bags in her art work.  Used tea bags that is -- ones that have been steeped, dried, and carefully cut open to empty out the leaves, preferably into a compost pail.

Now, Libby had had an article about this work published in the June/July 2017 issue of Quilting Arts magazine, and I'm a subscriber, but I'll admit that what was shown therein didn't capture my attention.  It was...ummm...a bit fanciful for my taste.

But what she did on The Quilt Show -- that was something that intrigued me.  I love rough edges and layering is very much part of my landscape work.  I also love quirky pieces inspired by an unusual thought (like her piece, "Call Wendy").

On top of Libby's inspiration, I've been wrestling with my challenges to make collages; to whit, Cas Holme's latest book, Textile Landscape, which I bought with a birthday gift card a couple of months ago.

Having managed to get back into the sewdio for the "Fire Moon" piece, I hankered to do some more playing to break up the hours of Christmas knitting that's taking up most of my days right now.

A couple of weeks ago I tore apart a dusty old book -- it was falling apart already -- and painted some of the pages, using a sponge.

The book's cover is interesting too...

Actual cover 

So I made a 'contour drawing' of it in my photo program...

"Contour Drawing" of the cover

But in the end I got stuck again.  I just couldn't get a feel for how to go farther with paper.  In the process I was digging through sheers and silks and flinging fabric around trying to find something that would call to me.

I came up with a piece of rust-dyed silk charmeuse I've had for a while, and suddenly I could see IT!

There were two pieces right off the bat, and I know there'll be more.  I didn't photograph the process, but I did take some pictures of the finished pieces, each mounted on painted 10" square stretched canvas, each about 1/2" thick.  I do believe I'll have them framed but for now...

She Thought He Hung the Moon (C) 2018
Rusted silk charmeuse, recycled tea bag,
machine thread painting,
hand stitching.

She Thought... Detail of moon, stitching

Where Do I Go from Here? (C) 2018
Rusted silk charmeuse, recycled tea bag paper,
machine thread painting, hand stitching

Where Do I Go...? - Detail of moon, stitching

Yes, these tea bags are round.  I no longer have the box (I store them in a tin with a tight lid) so no idea what brand this is, but the bags hold black tea.  I also brought home a couple of roiboos tea bags (also round) that I used at The Shop, and I've also collected a few rectangular bags (black tea) for future use.

Yes, I drink the tea.  I've rediscovered the soothing nature of tea, to which I've taken to adding powdered ginger and a teaspoon of raw honey.  I don't know how long I'll keep it up, but I've just received an Air Miles coupon  for a box of Tetley Tea so...

I think there'll be more tea bag paper in future pieces.  After all, I still have more of that lovely silk charmeuse...

Stay tuned -- and thanks, Libby!  😊

Linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday -- and hoping her internet wobbles right themselves soon!

Pour yourself a cuppa and...enjoy!


Joan said...

Well done for finding your own way to use teabags, I love what you’ve done with them. I too saw the article in Quilting Arts, and being English drink loads of tea (mainly rooibos), so have been drying them out like mad. I’ve started an abstract piece using these round bags that also uses rust dyed fabric (great minds thinking alike), but I don’t think it’ll be as effective as yours. Xx

elle said...

Luv coffee. Tea so/so. Seems the new quilting buddies embrace it. The bags idea has intrigued me and you have a good hold on that look. Luv it.
But then I pressed the video. I stant nostalgia. My dad's old 78's. Toe/foot went into action immediately!
Thanks for a wonderful post!

Bethany Garner said...

Hi Marg... I watched the same show with Libby and I too have been struck by all of the tea bags that I tend to let go... and she loves Celestial Seasons tea bags that are square the most - harder to find here in Canada - but loved the deep dark colour she achieved. Worth a try and as I teach often and supply the tea for my students breaks, I think I will "harvest' their used bags (collected 24 at a class I taught yesterday) and see where this goes. I understand that my clematis vines will love to have the tea as fertilizer... so a double whammy of good Karma! Some of the currant and red teas yesterday made quite interesting bag stains. Most are Tetley round bags - no strings.

Love dark roast coffee too! Don't give it up totally! Challenge you to a small art piece with hand stitching!