Tuesday, January 10, 2012

About Tea and Tea Cups

I have just finished a couple of felted tea cups - one is an order, the other I will put on my Etsy site, but based on the comments I am getting on the Festive Fibers Facebook page, I better get busy and make many more of these!! What do you think?
The concept for the felted tea cup, I am sure is not a new one, years ago I was juried into SOFA and invited to participate in a gallery's Tea Pot exhibit.  This was an annual juried show by this gallery, and I was honored to participate.  The tea pot I made was very funny (I thought) and had a (nod to pop culture) pun embeded into the name and look of the vessel.  My entry was called Harry T Potter!  Harry Potter was just out, and I had just dyed some crazy mohair locks.  The vessel had a self hinged lid which I saw as a wizard's hat, and the handle reflected a dragon's tail.  It was further embellished with beading.
So the other tea-lish-ous aspect in my life is that I am a tea buff, well not a purist, but I first started by collecting tea pots.  We honeymooned in the UK and I was further enamored with tea, the process and accoutrements.   We came home with a Portmeirion Dishes Tea Service set, which at the time was not available in the states.  Some of the first tea accessories I made as Festive Fibers were tea pot cozies.  These also were made taller and more narrow for french press coffee pots, I should quite a number of these (some as hats!)
Tom and I have even enjoyed a tea tasting at a very famous place in San Francisco's China Town.  We so love finding a pearl on our travels, and this was one.  We were doing a show in San Francisco and had time to explore, when came across Red Blossom Tea Company, and had a tea tasting with the son of the owner, a very knowledgeable young man.  We were entranced by the art of the tea leaf, the country it comes from, how it is picked, the season, if it is aged, white teas, loose green teas, to black and brewing time and vessels, etc.  We brought home a souvenir of 4 or 5 gourmet teas;
our favorites being Tung Ting and Inner Blossom Jasmine.    
Tea continues in my life when, a couple of years ago I was teaching at a retreat course called Art IsYou...and that year's theme was Alice in Wonderland.  And of course the underlying theme of the Mad Hatter's tea party inspired me to create a class teaching how do do these cups and saucers.  (Isn't it a wicked coincidence that the Mad Hatter IE. "Mad as a Hatter" has its roots in felt making?  Thank goodness I don't use mercury in my felts!  I am wacky enough!)  That year Stampington was one of Art Is...sponsors, and at the end of the retreat the producers sent all sorts of entries to them for consideration in their publications.  My cup and saucer ended up on an editor's desk and about a year later, this past October, it was published in Stampington Somerset Home's 2011 Issue.