Spill The Tea

Coffee and tea have certainly been making a splash into the lives of artists. As well as being the fuel that keeps us going, there are so many incredible ways to use tea and coffee in a creative and artistic way now. During the 19th Century collectable tea cards were introduced into tins of tea and almost every school did tea or coffee stained projects at some point or another. However, now, there are so many more avenues.

One amazing and unusual use of tea and coffee is the artists that use the delicious drink to enhance their art. Some work with tea or coffee and use it to stain fabric and give clothes different colours and patterns. Others use the combination of tea and coffee in paintings, which can create colour variations. With this style, working it like a watercolour paint you can make some incredible pieces. Whilst other artists forgo the paint altogether and work right out of their coffee cups. One example of this style of art is artist Giulia Bernardelli, who uses spoons and matchsticks to create wonderful pieces from her spilled coffee. Here’s a quick picture I did when I spilt my tea earlier, trying to emulate a sunset. I probably shouldn't give up my day job though...

Another way of using tea for art is by using the tea bags themselves. By painting right onto the bag, like a mini canvas, it creates a textured and wholly unique piece of work. Because tea bags are made of a delicate paper, you could also create bookmarks with your own designs. They can be collaged to make postcards, scrapbooks or even as micro envelopes on a bigger piece, holding tiny extra things for someone else to find.

Tea leaves can be used in numerous ways. They can be used organically and mixed into the soil around the base of a new plant because the nutrient-rich leaves will help plants grow, especially by supplying extra nitrogen. They can also be sprinkled over flower beds for similar reasons. Leaves can also be used for several different home improvements. Your favourite scented tea leaves can be dried and used in muslin bags as scent for drawers and cupboards, or made into bath sachets, or if you have enough you can make potpourri to scent your house. There is also a market on home-made candles with used tea leaves as decoration.

So that’s my streamlined list (there were a LOT of options when I was looking into this!). If you’re looking to try your hand at different art styles, want new things to paint with or even paint on, or you just want a way to repurpose your last mouthful of tea, coffee or old tea leaves - the possibilities are endless. OR at least… There are multiple possibilities. There probably is an end to the options. Probably. Why not go forth and try?

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