Tetley Tea Folk

A painting on a round teabag popped up in my Instagram feed recently. It was really well done: a dark background with a boat seen from above. Actually, I mentioned it before. It was the inspiration for my rowing boat painting a few posts back.

Google eventually told me that Tetley put their tea in round bags and so I started trying to find Tetley teabags in supermarkets. Tesco didn’t have them but we were walking past Dunnes in town last weekend and Christine suggested having a look in there. And what do you know? There they were. Special offer too. So now I have 160 of them.

I soaked a few, dried them out, emptied them, painted them black and came up with these, as a start. Both a little rushed but you get the idea.

Otherwise I’ve been sketching in snatched moments. There’s this …

And Newgrange …

And an androgynous imaginary friend … (people and faces are not a strength of mine – I gave up on his/her nose after five attempts.)

And last night, before I took Edward out in Christine’s car to practice his driving, I made a really lovely thin black macrame bracelet. I used superglue to fix the locking slip knot. Unfortunately I used too much and it no longer slips. Annoying but I won’t make that mistake again.

Here’s something a little more successful macrame-wise.

Almost forgot. I was messing around with lettering too …

That’s about it for now.

Needs Must

Maybe it’s the time of year (not my favourite, as I’ve explained previously). Or maybe it’s just circumstances. Maybe both. My mind has been buzzing over the last week. Not always in a productive way.

Sometimes art for me is pure therapy. Yesterday, I found some solace in mandalas and doodles: short periods of concentration on patterns and repetition that slowed my thoughts down and gave my head a break. It’s my form of meditation. It doesn’t last long, but it’s like taking my foot off the accelerator for a short period to stop the engine over-heating.


Rivers scare me. In the 1960s, when I lived in Glenageary, a neighbour drowned in the river Shannon. I overheard a conversation that suggested that he was wearing wellingtons when he fell off his boat and that they sucked him down into the river. That made a bit of an impression on me, as you might imagine, and I’ve been wary of rivers ever since.

I’m not too keen on lakes either. Not sure why. Rather irrationally, I kind of think that large bodies of water should be sea.

I do love the sea though. I love its saltiness, its wildness, its unpredictability, its colour and depth. I was a Sea Scout when I was younger and I learned to sail, row and canoe in the sea. In the summer months in my very early teens, a few of us from scouts used to hire a boat from Bulloch Harbour and fish. Sitting, chatting, fishing. Good times.

Anyway, today’s creative thing was inspired by an item on the Instagram feed of a Bangladeshi artist with the account name of @teabag_stories.

Here’s a close-up …

And here’s the whole teabag …

The colours are better in real life. The natural light was fading as I finished it and try as I might with phone and a proper camera, I couldn’t get a decent photo that accurately reflected the colours. The sea is actually a rather nice greeny-blue, painted in acrylic. The dingy and rower are painted mostly in gouache.

Doodling, Distractedly

It’s that ‘back to school’ time of year, when people take a deep breath, gird their loins and get ready for the return to term time routine. It’s not my favourite time of year, to be honest. I love the relative freedom of summer, the absence of deadline pressure, the freedom to imagine, daydream, doodle mentally, be a bit late for things.

As a school-goer, I always dreaded the first day back. I don’t know what I was anxious about. Maybe just the unknown and new: timetables, teachers, classrooms. Maybe my peers: would my school friends still be friendly towards me? I’m really not sure. I just remember the tension and the fluttering in my stomach.

This is going to be a busy week, with two very important meetings and a load of other new term stuff to sort out. I’m glad about that because I need the distraction.

I doodled yesterday, mentally and creatively.

Here’s an overworked strawberry in gouache.

And a knotted/macrame dragonfly.

Here are some doodle doodles that I did when thinking about something else.

And then I botched a good idea about bamboo in the moonlight. I’m not even going to put it up here because it ended up an embarrassing mess. Well, OK, here it is. (I did say to myself that I’d put up the bad and the OK.) The bamboo element wasn’t working so I changed it as I was going along and then I wasn’t sure what it was. It was six trees, then three, then five. Ugh.