I’m what you might call an occasional tea drinker. When I was a little girl, I thought of tea as something people took when they were sick. Coffee was the go-to beverage for adults though my older sister took a liking to it early on. Her version of coffee was mostly milk, though. For my part, I always thought coffee smelled better than it tasted.
Then over the years, I discovered different teas that promised more pleasing flavors than the plain Lipton tea that we had at home (for when someone had trouble with digestion). Then came something called Butterfly Iced Tea which then became a drink of choice for when my sisters and I wanted something more exciting than water or juice. We weren’t allowed sodas except on very special occasions (an aside: we had grape Julep at home and whenever I was given one, I used to secretly hope it would be, by some sort of oversight, Coke!) and this tasted like a treat. I think it was really just honeyed tea blitzed with ice.
The best tea to me, though, was the green tea at Japanese restaurants. I’m not sure if at that age I appreciated the tea or just the fact that the tea was being poured by someone in a kimono. Back then, there weren’t many Japanese restaurants and to be dining in one was nothing short of magical (Coke was allowed too!).
Nowadays I think of tea as a kind of comfort drink. I like loose leaf ones and I still have a preference for green tea. My health coach from the Philippines sent me a gift card for my birthday (via Facebook!) and it was for any tea I wanted from a company called Kusmi Tea. I chose one called Euphoria because the site said it was an “exhilarating blend of roasted mate with scents of chocolate and orange.”
Of course I had no idea what mate was but they got me at “chocolate and orange.”
Anyway, back to teas.
My recent return to working with paper led me to various mixed media and collage work sites and magazines. I came across an article where the artist mentions that she incorporates used tea bags in her work.
Pack rat that I am, I have paper and cardboard stashes that include the packing paper from Amazon deliveries, cardboard from cereal boxes or cookie boxes, and even junk mail. However, I never thought of saving tea bags because most of my teas are loose leaf teas. As always, my husband, albeit unknowingly, came to my rescue. He had tea in tea bags! Not knowing what I was up to yet again, he set aside his used tea bags.
And so it was that I began dismantling the bags whenever there were two or three waiting for me. I was pleased with the little pile that I was collecting though I had no idea what I was going to do with them yet. In my Paper With Everything blog, I showed how I used one sheet to put a quote on a canister. I also used some of the sheets to make paper roses as part of a gift-wrap. Then I decided I wanted to incorporate the tea bag sheets into a painting. Which I did.
I rarely work on paintings. Most of the art work I do is digital. If I do paint on something, it might be a floorcloth or a bag. But I find being able to do something a bit larger with no one telling me to tweak this or change that is very calming. I do have to deal with my own inner critic but since my mind tends to wander off quite a bit, I’m sure I’ve left the inner critic still going on and on somewhere.