Sunday, July 10, 2011

While there's Tea, there's Hope

I am a tea drinker.  Ever since I was a kid, I've loved tea.  Even worked in a tea shop during summers home from college (I still order tea from our wholesaler, now that they do retail too).  Now I don't drink as much as I used to when I worked at the shop, but I enjoy my morning cuppa at work, and sometimes take the time to settle down with a cup at home on the weekend.  And every now and then, I'm inspired to create tea-themed art.  Like a couple of weeks ago, when my mom told me about a new tea she'd gotten at Fresh Market.  It's a coconut-lime flavored black tea.  Wow.  Even before I'd tasted it, it took me away to imaginary plantations in the British West Indies or something.  And by the time I cut out of work and dashed off to my parents' house to play with paint to satisfy my sudden inspiration, I knew what I wanted to put together:

I took an 8"x8" canvas and brushed on a rich brown colored acrylic paint.  Then I dry-brushed on white and lime green in layers, laying down a custom-cut tea stalk mask in between a few of the layers to end up with that silhouette there to the right.

I tore some tissue paper and laid it down, lime green first (what Mom had was actually a bit pale, so I painted it first with some of the paint I had used on the canvas), then a layer of white, and lastly, a piece of kraft glassine that I'd crumpled to get some good texture on.  Then I glued down my little tea stalk.

The little bracket is a Tim Holtz thing, but the "Tea" sign in it is actually stamped from the very bottom of a Michelle Ward stamp that says "Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea."  I've had that stamp since before I even knew who Michelle was.  It was just what I needed for this, and I'm glad I know her now because I used a lot of her techniques here.  Sorry to rip you off, Michelle... I hope I've Made It My Own well enough :)  

To finish the edges of the canvas, I used Tim Holtz tissue tape.  It doesn't stick very well, so I had to glue the end down, but it works.  

In case you're wondering, the tea does taste as good as it sounds.  It's in teabags, though, so it could be better.  (Yes, I'm a loose tea snob, but I'm not entirely above using teabags.)

I've been enjoying more than just cups of tea, recently, too.  I've gotten back into reading the tea shop mystery novels written by Laura Childs.  They're wonderful cozy mysteries set in Charleston, with a sleuth who owns a charming tea shop.  Yesterday, when Mr. Pocket told me I needed to take a day to actually chill,  I decided I was going to enjoy the beautiful weather on our balcony and read my book.  But being me, I didn't just sit and do that.  I got myself a color-coordinated cup of tea.  See, I happen to have red flowers on our balcony.  And our chair cushions are red.  So I chose carefully from my ever-growing collection of tea cups and pots...

Actually, I need a few more to fill in the gaps...

Brewed myself some jasmine green tea (it was old and a little stale, but it was ok), and brought out my tea and my book:

P.S. The flower pot on the table is an oversized teacup.

I thought the strawberry teacup went well with the balcony.  Ok, it's a sickness.  I must color-coordinate.  But you know what?  I had a perfectly pleasant afternoon with my coordinating teacup and my cozy mystery.  I should do that more often.

Next post:  Michelle's new crusade, on naming colors or colorways.  Stay tuned!


Maryanne said...

I just love this post, Carrie! I always love your tea themed creations and the pictures of your collection of tea cups and pots and your balcony are wonderful! Oh...and that coordinating colors thing...well I think it's in your genes!! :)!

Unknown said...

I just love the composition of your piece: the plant growing on one side and the civilized, Victorian look of the Holtz "tea label" on the other side. Great colors too. Nicely done.

Pudel-design said...

That looks really nice;)
Thank you for your lovely comment!
Lovely greetings...

Carolyn Dube said...

Really like how you balanced your Tea art so that the eye is drawn around it. Really like the shadowy part that gives just a hint!