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.


Collage: Challenging Scale, Space and Environment



Sophie Victoria Elliott.

Work in progress for the residency at Milkwood Gallery, Roath, Cardiff.

This collage is made up of images and words responding to the journey I am making between Caerphilly and Milkwood Gallery via public transport and my bike. This projects promotes the ecological benefits of using sustainable and public transports.


Poster: Concluding Night

Sophie Victoria Elliott ‘Poster Design: AIR Milkwood July 2012’ Graphic Design, June 2012.

Chasing Light

Sophie Victoria Elliott ‘Untitled: Cyclical Extractions’ Graphic Collage, June 2012.

In response to my current cycling residency for Cardiff Cycle Festival 2012 at Milkwood Gallery.

Combining the transitional space experience whilst on a bike with the refractions of light and repetition/ rhythm experienced.

DIS / location

DIS / location ‘The Form of the River’ Graphic Collage, June 2012.

DIS / location Comprises of:

Philip Cheater

Sophie Victoria Elliott

This collaboration seeks to engage in a dialogue. Sophie is from Wales but currently lives in England and Phil is from England currently living in Wales. With this they both share an understanding of re-location, travel and distance from ‘home’.

This particular piece is in response to Sophie’s current residency for the Cardiff Cycle Festival. Both Phil and Sophie use cycling as a key mode of transport. By combining photographs on their travels, found images of the locations from the past, landscape references to contours, signage found en-route and colours derived from those journeys only they aim to communicate dislocation from their homeland by discovering the nuances of their new homes.

Sophie Victoria Elliott: Prior to Milkwood


Geology inspires the analysis of the landscape. A plethora of media engages with the idea of landscapes as harmoniously destructive and reconstructive. The simultaneous opposing aspects of nature inspire the newest avenue of work where macrocosm and microcosm cannot be ignored. Can the work communicate both the intricacy of the atom and the sublime of a cosmos?


The landscape viewed in the context of geology is inescapable in Wales. Eroded Mountains once the size of the Himalayas in the North, wrapped in 870 miles of coastline exposing the subterranean, rivers carve, glaciated valleys aplenty and the old Welsh industries often driven by coal, slate or ore extraction, saturate the Welsh landscape.

The way in which I paint is mimetic of geological processes; erosion, saturation, crystallisation, alluvial fans are among many. However, the geological inspirations are not limited to the paintings. Photography, drawing, map manipulation, intricate hand-cut work  and translating the paintings in to scientific maps extend the geological fascination. But without the paintings none of this would be possible.

The residency at Ackworth School has introduced the use of old local maps from the 1800s, a geology map of Britain from 1908 along with many discarded geography books from the Geography Department. Coal Mining became an obvious relationship between Caerphilly, where I have come from, to West Yorkshire, where I currently live. Mapping and contouring the drawings and paintings were a result. The ‘Cut-Outs’ body of work connect back to the questioning of how to communicate the subterranean landscape.