The Way of Tea: Week Two Part One
December 9, 2012, 11:34 am
Filed under: Heidi Mehta
Tea cup from Japanese fabric being hand sew and embroidered

A productive and interesting week. Started using the basement as my studio and it felt really nice, a peaceful, relaxing and harmonious space to work in. As well as looking at my own drawings, prints and stitched pieces I wanted to begin to look at pieces completed by member of Roath’s community during my arts project Way of Tea: Roaming Roath as part of Made in Roath 2012 I have always intended on bringing together a collaborative piece and the idea was that through a relaxing social exchange individuals could sew a piece, add to someone else’s piece, share a story etc. It worked well in some Tea Houses and not in others but the pieces of work left with me and signed by each person are beautiful.

My tea cup needs a background which is just as pretty.

It was interesting to discover the people who would get involved, lots of people were really happy to stop and chat, inquiring about what we were doing but lots were uncomfortable about starting with a blank canvas and also with the time limit they had that day. I soon realised that it would be easier for some, if I cut out fabric templates or samples of tea cups, japanese tea sets, tea pots and milk jug and they could select their background fabric and start stitching.

Adding the finer details with fabric pen.

Molly, Tom, Emma, Camille and Natalie all worked busily, cutting up fabrics, stitching pieces down, using fabric pens to draw details and sign their work. This session in The Pot Cafe was my most memorable and enjoyable.

I now wanted to finish working on the samples I began stitching during my roaming roath project and try and work out how the pieces will fit together for one collaborative piece. I am keen to add traditional Japanese pattern to the overall piece, to incorporate machine and hand embroidery, to use doilies and lace alongside the British tea cup or pot.


The Way of Tea

A photopolymer etching taken from one on my photos during a trip to Japan. The chine cole is a hand drawing of cherry blossom which has been screen-printed onto to tissue paper and placed onto the inked etching plate before printing.

My project the Way of Tea focuses on the fascination and philosophy of tea through a fusion of the British quintessential tea house and the philosophical Japanese tea house. I am interested in tea as a social concept, a way of bringing people together from all walks of life and backgrounds. I am interested in how an everyday process can be harmonious, beautiful and aesthetic. We each have our own way of how we drink tea, what we drink it out of and when we drink it. The process of making tea is an individual or shared ritual, a ceremony; it is a pause in our everyday busy lives. I would like to hear peoples stories and memories of tea, I would like to see photos of your favorite cup/mug/teapot/place to drink etc. During my residency I am using my grandmothers bone china tea sets. The sound of a spoon chinking against the bone china cup reminds me of when I was a child listening to the grown ups talking, drinking and sharing tea. I will also be sharing photos and stories on this blog.

In the basement of Milkwood Gallery I have attempted to create an aesthetic of space with a harmoniously arranged Japanese tea house alongside a British tearoom. It is incredible that it has been a full week since I started my residency in the basement. I am now more relaxed and have begun to enjoy it all. Today was the first day I used the space as a studio to start creating new work. I initially felt the pressure of getting it just right and wanted the environment I created to be true and honest to the tea houses I have tried to represent. I hope I have got that balance right and I hope visitors will enjoy the “mountain hut within the city” I have created, and will join me for a pause within their busy day and for a cup of tea.

I will be using the basement as an artist studio space, creating new pieces of work and also bringing together a collaborative piece. The collaborative piece includes work completed by members of Roath’s community during my arts project the Way of Tea: Roaming Roath as part of Made in Roath 2012. I will be working from the basement on the following days: Saturday 10th, Sunday 11th, Tuesday 13th, Friday 16th, Saturday 17th, Tuesday 20th and Friday 23rd November 2012. Please come and see the space and have a cup of tea. If you would also like to contribute to the collaborative piece you can drop in anytime I’m here and sew, collage, draw or print a tea cup and sign your work.

I cant even think yet of my closing tea party as I don’t want the time to go too quickly. A marker for diaries is Friday 23rd November from 6pm to 9pm where the work produced during my residency will be displayed.