Making collage with tea bags is something I had not done before. But recycling is part of my ethos, and I love the resonance of tea. Working with tea bags evoked a sense of shared experience as I recalled savoring a warm cup of tea with a friend. Tea also relates to my Foremothers Project. I can envision our foremothers being nourished and sustained by this mellow beverage.
In April I joined the Society of Layerists in Multi Media. https://www.slmm.org/ While participating in a Zoom call, I learned about the tea bag challenge. Inspired, I jumped in and starting saving tea bags. When it became apparent I wasn’t drinking enough tea, my friends were happy to help out. Shout out to Martha and Anne S. for saving tea bags.
Starting a Collage
“A Good Pour” is my first attempt at using teabag papers in a collage. I began by arranging two tea bags and the top half of a pitcher from a piece of vintage wallpaper. Taking color cues from these first papers, I added pieces of painted papers with cut and torn paper edges. By repeating the half oval handle shape I was able to create a visual rhythm. And by repeating shape and color, I move your eye through the composition.
My second tea bag collage is entitled Tea and Roses. I found that hibiscus tea bags stain the paper a lovely shade of rose. My first layer was to glue down the tea bags to the paper substrate. While working, I noticed the dried rose petals I had gathered on a morning walk. They had a lovely resonance with the pale pink of the tea bags. And once I was started, the rest of the composition came together. Note: one cannot have roses without thorns. Can you find the thorn-like shapes in my collage?
This is an example of how I begin a collage. First, I start by selecting and laying out pieces of paper. In this case, the shape of the tea bag prompted the rectangles I used. I like to wait a bit before glueing. Why do I wait? Because I like to allow for changes and insights to occur over time.
More About Craft
Once i start glueing shapes to the support, or substrate–paper, board, or canvas, I am committing myself to the arrangement. In the collage “Tea Tag” which I renamed “Tea Quilt”, I added another layer of shape and color to the base grid of dark and light papers. Doing so, I felt a playful energy emerge. Did you notice that I shifted the composition from a horizontal to vertical layout? Read on to discover the teapot in this tea bag collage.
Look closely to find the parts of the vintage wallpaper teapot in Tea Bag Collage #4
Tea and Music
Tea Bag Collage #3 began with the sheet music and fabric with music notes along with some soft tan tea bag papers. I love the transparency of tea bag papers and the effects of layering it over other papers. Adding the red transfer drawing papers energized the collage with marks and swirls reminiscent of music as energy. Notice how I used black paper for horizontal, vertical, and diagonal accents. In doing so, I anchored the composition and created more dark and light contrast. It’s worth mentioing that music has always been a joyful part of my life. This collage has energy, whimsy, and spirit!
I found the tea bag challenge to be an inspiring prompt. Additionally, it was a chance to participate with the SLLM community. What comes to your mind when you see these collages? As always, I love to hear your thoughts.