Every now and then I run across an article that promises to reveal some number of alternative uses for tea. I rarely pay much attention to these since my only real interest in tea is drinking it. But I have to admit that, if you’re going to do something else with tea, you might as well use it as a medium for creating art.
Which is exactly what a number of artists have aspired to do. Take Andrew Gorkovenko, an advertising designer based in Moscow. Among his many works are a series created by using tea leaves and powder as his artistic medium, a style which the author was called upon to use when designing packaging for a tea brand. See some of Gorkovenko’s tea art here.
Gerda Liebmann is a Swiss-born artist and designer who now lives in the United States and who is also an ordained minister. As the artist notes in her bio, she works primarily in acrylic on large canvases. Among the tea-themed paintings she’s produced over the years are such works as Glass Tea Pot, Agony of the Leaves and A Royal Teacup. To see them click the Tea heading at her site.
Aaron Fisher last appeared in these pages when I reviewed his book, The Way of Tea. He has also published Tea Wisdom: Inspirational Quotes and Quips About the World’s Most Celebrated Beverage. Also an artist, Fisher has traveled extensively throughout Asia and currently resides in Taiwan. Not surprisingly, much of his painting and calligraphy is heavily influenced by Asian traditions of tea. More of his work at his Web site.
For some more high-profile attempts to bring the artistry of tea to the masses, consider a pair of commercials from none other than those august tea merchants at Twinings. In the first the artist uses nothing more than tea leaves, a canvas and her hands to create a work of art. In the other, artist Tom Parks uses actual cups of tea to make a striking work that falls somewhere between painting and sculpture.
Last up, an exhibition called Steeped in History: The Art of Tea. It ran several years ago at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, but you can still access information about it at their Web site.
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