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.


Linear Dimensions

Sophie Victoria Elliott ‘Untitled: Linear Dimensions’ Collage, June 2012.

Graphic Questionings and Word Wonderings

Sophie Victoria Elliott ‘Untitled: It’s Still Raining Series’ Graphic Collage, June 2012.

Sophie Victoria Elliott ‘Untitled: It’s Still Raining’ Written Piece, June 2012.

Basement Progression

Sophie Victoria Elliott.

Milkwood Residency in progress.

Much to do and it is proving to be a big space to do a collage in! Went all the way to Swansea to get A0 and A1 prints done especially for this. Lots of cutting. Lots of measuring. Lots of sticking.

Starting to take shape but so far to go!

Untitled: Absence

Sophie Victoria Elliott ‘Untitled: Absence Series’ Graphic Collage, Paper Collage, Photography and Photo-manipulation, June 2012.

Looking at repetition of shape to communicate the rhythm experienced on the bike.

The triangular shape is derived from a number of images, sources and ideas collated whilst on the bike.

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.

Sophie Victoria Elliott: Sitting.

I’m sat here, with the window open and light turned out. Listening.

I did a lot of listening today.

I did a lot of walking today.

Walked about an hour and a half through Swansea city center, Cardiff city center and then through to Cathays, down Albany road to Milkwood Gallery. I was happy. So I smiled.

I smiled to myself.

To passers by.

I love watching peoples reactions.


Laughing to myself.

I love it when someone smiles back.

I’m happiest when I see a person wraught with anger or frustration or unhappiness and they look up to see me smile.

One small smile; it can lift a cloud of darkness.

Try it sometime. Just smile. I have so much to smile about.

But on my way home I walked through Roath Park. Cutting through the rose gardens and winding my way around the lake. The smell from the roses slowed my stride and encased me in a sickly warmth, brought on by the sun sweating my brow. The pungent power of garlic cut through the sweet roses, thrusting my mind to when two friends taught me to eat the leaves in salad as we walked through the woods on the Gower.

But a humming rumbled through my thoughts, dragging me back to the here and now. I walked on. And on. But that rumbling never ceased.

The drone.

I then realised that where I live in Yorkshire I have a luxury.

Surrounded by fields.



These are my noises. This is the only relentless rumble I hear.

But Roath Park, steeped in beauty, bathed in a rich palette of green, in encompassed by a road. A road well travelled.

The only relief was the multitude of cyclists I came across. Walking offered me a new pace, a pace where I could observe during the hour and half walking the tens of cyclists I saw. I lost count after 30!


Get on your bike and smile.