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:
- “That looks interesting, but I’m not sure what to think” (approaches for a closer look)
- “Oh–that’s not really what I expected, now I’m a bit confused!”
- “It looks like it’s made from–wow! It really is made out of (insert strange material here)!”
- “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.
- 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.
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.
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.