Saturday, April 23, 2011

Raw Materials, Tea Bags Part 1

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

Have you ever really looked at a teabag? Or even taken one apart? It seems the humblest of materials but it can be re-used by artists. I was inspired to look closer at them after Bridgette Guerzon Mills was experimenting a few months ago
printing on tea bags and using them in her beautiful encaustic works. She, in turn, had been inspired by other artists. Isn’t it amazing how ripples of creative ideas spread outward and how each artist plays and changes and passes on the wave of inspiration?

So, I started saving and drying each morning’s bag. One day my husband, seeing all the dried bags on the table, created a Standing Tea Bag Circle, knowing my love of ancient stone circles! Guess it was time to either toss all those bags or do something with them.

There is a kind of quiet meditation in taking a tea bag apart. Once a bag has dried, gently pull the string and it will release from the mini staple. Pull one side of the folded area near the staple and then another; this will loosen the paper and you can easily remove the staple. You now have a long rectangle with two sections of tea. The whole thing is held together with a simple crimp running down the center. Gently loosen one end so the tea inside can drain into a dish or bowl and run your fingers to loosen the crimped seam. Then scrape the rest of the tea off the paper. What amazing paper; talk about being in hot water! This paper can take that heat and still hold together.

So I made a stack of papers, a pile of staples and string with tags, and bowls of tea. What could I do with these raw materials, truly the stuff of everyday life? Hmm…

Yesterday, I started playing with some tea bag papers. Stay tuned to see what happened…

Sunday, April 17, 2011


12" x 18"
acrylic on paper

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Journal Spread

Journal spread
acrylic on paper
5.50" x 8.50"

I’m experimenting in a commercially-made journal, the Strathmore Visual Journal. This is the 140 lb. watercolor one. Not sure I like the spiral across the spread but it does help working completely flat. I found this quote last week and really love it.