The Earth Reliant Artist

Trace Willans All Natural Mixed Media

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tea Bag Explorations

It would seem that everyone these days is playing with tea bags and why not?
In our current climate of recycling they are easy and so versatile.
Now I don't drink tea but luckily my partner does
though only 2 cups a day!!!!
Which is hardly enough
So I thought that I would show you
what I have learnt so far about this humble material.

Tea Bag dyed with eucalyptus leaves in a clamp
consisting of 2 coffee tin lids and 2 fold back clamps(bulldog)
 in an iron rich pot
About 10 dyed at once
This is quite a subtle result

Tea Bag dyed as above except I brushed the leaves
with beaten egg white

Tea Bag dyed as above except I brushed the leaves
with beaten egg yol with a little water added

Then the other day I decided I would like to try for much more clarity in the prints
So here I placed baking/silicon paper between the lids and the teabags
and there were only 3 bags in the bundle
I also placed a small piece of open weave cotton cloth with one of the tea bags
This made no discernable marks on the tea bag print but still dyed very nicely
I once again used egg yolk

A tea bag
note I am not using cinerea this time

the silcon paper dyed beautifully as well
perhaps I will try waxed paper next time
for using in encaustic works

as the silicon paper dyed so well
I wondered how well water colour paper
would work to seperate the tea bags
and generate small prints in their own right
I pulled these apart while still wet

Here you can see that the egg stuck to the paper and tore it

I rubbed the paper off the tea bag
but didn't remove it entirely
as I was concerned about damaging the tea bag

And they all look great on the other side

the second lot in the same bundle
I left to dry
well i left it for a while then got impatient
and ironed it dry
This seems to have set the egg
and I had no trouble pulling
this lot apart

And here is the other side.

So there you have it
Naturally dyed tea bags
I look forward to hearing about your own ideas
on how to explore this are even more
For those of you who love the way these look
 but really don't wish to make your own I have
some of my tea bags for sale in my Etsy shop
More to come when my partner drinks more tea.

x te


Raggle Taggle Gypsy Girl said...

They are quite beautiful, I like the variety as well and the colours are beautiful.......

lizet frijters said...

Beautiful work, Tracy. It is amazing what a difference the egg white makes in between the first and the second image. I have tried only yolk on cotton , not on paper and it makes a difference.

Valerianna said...

I love these.... wonderful.

Missouri Bend Paper Works said...

These are just beautiful....earthy, rustic and such beautiful subtle colors. I love the small, intimate scale as well....keep going! Maybe you need to have a small party and insist that everyone have several cups of tea!!! Cheers!

Jo Murray said...

Extraordinary process Trace... with fab results.

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

Fantastic results! I love them and really want to play around with tea bags now...

Can I please post one of your photos and a link to you in an up coming green/greener post?

india flint said...

i use tea bags a LOT for mending pages that i've torn by either bundling them over plant material that's too lumpy, or damaged through over-eager speed of opening.

forensic slowness is the go [for me, anyway] when dealing with paper. you'll find the kaolin content [and conversely the acid content of cheap papers] will influence colour outcomes,particularly where anthocyanins are present in the leaf

for those who fuss about archival quality, bear in mid plant dyes are by and large acidic [with exception of indigo and lichen] ...but then who needs things to last for a squillion years? i don't.

Velma Bolyard said...

i like what you're up to here. very very cool.

archival quality, well, india brings up an interesting point. if things are well made, with attention to quality, etc, our works don't need to last for ever. (i mean, do we need yet another scrapbook made of archival manufactured paper?)

Peggy said...

These prints are beautiful. What is the purpose of the egg? Never heard of that before.

layers said...

This is so interesting.. .I drink a lot of tea.. I am going to try and work with some of them.. love your results.