The Earth Reliant Artist

Trace Willans All Natural Mixed Media

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Preparing Teabags

I admit I love to create little rituals around my arts practice.
Currently one of these is preparing teabags as a painting surface.
I am not a tea drinker; my husband performs that duty for me.
Two per morning during the week and 3 or more on weekends
An ongoing giving resource.
There is a small bowl beside the kettle in the tea making area, this ensures the teabags don’t go in the bin, all part of my make it easy strategy.

I pull the tags off and place them on another bowl that sits in the window to dry out.

I collect them up till I have 16 teabags, then I am ready to make a batch
To begin I prepare my traditional gesso* go here for a tutorial
This is not an acrylic gesso, which more properly is an acrylic ground
But a rabbit skin glue and calcium carbonate mix used while warm
1 level tsp of rabbit skin glue granules is enough for at least 2 batches

silicon mat

I lay out a sheet of soft light paper, that a friend found for me in an op shop, (it came from between the sheets of a photo album), onto my silicon mat which I can clean and reuse

I place a tea bag onto it and brush with the gesso smoothing out from the centre, it will penetrate through and glue it to the bottom sheet. I then place on a second teabag, and brush on more gesso to glue it to the teabag below.

I repeat these steps 7 more times and then leave them to dry.

When they are dry on the top surface, I peel the whole sheet off
 and flip it over to help the underside dry

When completely dry I tear them into individual pieces and trim the edges.
The teabags are now ready to use as a paint surface.

Handmade watercolour, natural pigment

egg tempera, natural pigment

frozen gesso


susan hemann said...


Trace Willans said...

Thank you Susan

Madison Woods said...

Oh, I didn't know you could freeze the gesso! I will do that too, because I had to throw out a bunch of the first batch I'd made. Love your little tea bag canvases. For me, it would be coffee filters I need to use. I may try that too. Wonderful tutorial. Thank you for sharing :)

Trace Willans said...

Hi Madison, I did not know I could freeze it either till I tried!!! Now I always have some sitting in there ready to go. This blog from sarah Swett might be of interest with the coffee filters