How it all began…
In 2018 Te Huanui Gallery in Darfield, Canterbury called for entries to an exhibition entitled “Found Objects as Art” (FOAA). I decided this was a challenge too good to refuse, and so I started daydreaming about different found objects I could print on. Somehow on a trip to the compost heap I settled on teabags, and the resulting teabag artwork was titled “Springtime Brew”.
“My artwork is a celebration of two passions – printmaking and a good cup of tea. I usually print on fine art paper and so the FOAA exhibition challenged me to find a recycled material that spoke to me as a printmaker. Tea is my hot drink of choice, which means I compost quite a few teabags each week. On one of my trips to the compost bin, I realised my used tea bags had potential for printmaking. After some experimentation with a traditional etching press, I found an old woodworking vice was ideal for creating each individual linocut print. The resulting artwork is a compilation of springtime moments around Canterbury and many good cups of English Breakfast and Earl Grey Tea.”
My Current Teabag Adventures
In 2020 I decided to dive back into printing on teabags. This time my plans are a little more ambitious and so I have recruited a team of local tea drinkers to save and dry their used teabags for me. I have been overwhelmed by the number of people keen to help out with the project, and have also become fascinated by all the different types of teabags I am receiving.
I also sometimes now use the leftover tea leaves from this project to hand dye cotton tea towels which I then hand print with my own designs.