The elephant in my teapot

Migdalia’s Grand Opening

Paris, Kentucky: self-proclaimed home of “horses, history & hospitality.”

This weekend, my husband and I attended the opening celebration for Migdalia’s Restaurant, where we brought a few works of my art for their gallery exhibit. I was thrilled with everyone’s response to my Teabag Teapot, which I brought for display along with the new Swimming Solo quilt and the Green Chair painting.

I always enjoy the reaction that people have when they view one of my more unique pieces. They usually go through several stages: teapot-car view

  1. “That looks interesting, but I’m not sure what to think” (approaches for a closer look)
  2. “Oh–that’s not really what I expected, now I’m a bit confused!”
  3. “It looks like it’s made from–wow! It really is made out of (insert strange material here)!”
  4. “How’d you think up such a thing?”

It’s really rewarding to see people experience these reactions. So for the record, my teapot is made from approximately 75 teabags, with most of the tea leaves left in the bags.

Also at the opening, we: teabag teapot-detail One of Migdalia’s three floors, exquisitely decorated.

  • indulged in a vast array of Fabulous food,
  • got to talk to the other talented artists about their work,
  • met many new people,
  • became re-acquainted with others,
  • saw some amazing musicians (I am fascinated by the Harp)
  • and don’t forget the Fabulous food!

I fell in love with a large decorative bowl of crispy cone-shaped wontons, filled with a wonderful crab salad and tucked into a bed of sea salt to hold them upright. Between that and the excellent Shiraz, I was in heaven.

The Teapot

For the most part, I am creatively inspired by the intrigue of working with a specific material in bulk–taking it and devising some sort new form for it to take. Once I had decided to create a teapot, teabags seemed an obvious choice of medium. I took a box of them and fiddled with a few until I found an appropriate method of sewing them together.

teabag teapot-topview
For the body, I drew a rounded triangle shape for a pattern, cut about seven of them out of cotton, and sewed a few teabags on each triangle. I also made the spout and the bottom by drawing a pattern but had to snip the corners of the teabags first to let out some (but not all!) of the tea leaves.

For the handle and the lid, I played around with several design variations. For example, I made another lid that functioned more like a cork bottle-stopper but decided against it for the final version.

When designing the handle, I considered fashioning it as a large arch over top of the lid. But I didn’t want the handle to interfere physically with the spout or visually with the lid. A traditional “open” handle attached at two points was not necessary, so it evolved into what resembles an elephant ear.

The Teapot is colored with leather dyes that I mixed into the shade of green that worked for me (which I also used to dye the yarn that is enclosed by the copper spiral details). I used metallic thread for the tiny embroidered portraits of elephants and flowers on the lid. I’m also a bit giddy that the lid is perched atop the teapot like a hat!

The entire form is filled with Fiberfil to help support the shape. Inside is a clear plastic cylinder for storing a few favorite teas or anything else you wanna tuck in there. It was an extremely fun project and has lots of little details that make it extra-special.

About jamie

Jamie is an award winning artist who has recently taken a hop, a skip, and a few jumps, and has landed happily in California. She specializes in textile/fabric pieces (art that you wear), but also creates paintings, sculptures, and quilted works of art.
This entry was posted in My Art, Unconventional Media. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *