Tuesday, 27 November 2007

My friend Mandy's Book Launch

This year I commissioned Melbourne based comic artist, Mandy Ord ,to draw a 'History of Tea Cosies' in comic book format for the Teacosy* Revolution Manifesto publication I'm still working on. She did a great job and this is her own book launch invite for anyone who can attend. Go Mandy!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

While I have a break from Tea Cosies...

These are two of three "T Bags" I've made for a great new design shop in Launceston, Tasmania, called Cocoon (www.cocoonlaunceston.com.au), and the owner, Suzanne Wiltshire, is a mad keen tea addict like me...so I wanted to make these bags about tea, with a swashbuckling and die-hard approach! Hence the skulls (inspired by my Ravenswood Primary School teaparty, see previous posts below), and crossed teaspoons. I had a lot of fun making these...it's a really good idea to make fun, silly stuff in the middle of all the 'serious' work one does, to stop oneself going crazy under all the pressure! Voila! I took the photos too, and have been having more fun customising them to look more moody and 'designy'. Ha haaaaarrr, Polly want a cup of tea??

"Home Ec., Happy little home maker?" 2007

This artwork is for the CAST (Contemporary Art Services Tasmania), members exhibition next month. I used a found teacup and saucer and applied hand embroidered designs and imagery with glue (not very sophisticated though effective enough!), to depict a young woman chained to the sink and surrounded by dishes to be washed, on the interior of the cup; with the exterior of the cup displaying floral foliage and two cats perhaps in pursuit of the Australian Blue Wren bird?! My feminist statement by making this artwork: Inside every home is a woman fed up with cleaning, screaming to go to the Opera or travel the world...! (well, thats the kindergarten version...it's basically an autobiographical artwork about feeling fed up with domestic calm and perceived female duties to the household!)


Saturday, 17 November 2007

Teacosy* Revolution Teaparty and Cosy making day at Ravenswood Primary, Tasmania...making the tea cosies

On November 1st, 2007, I held a Devonshire Teacosy Party at Ravenswood Primary School for grade 3/4 students, on the request of their teacher, my friend Rebecca Harrington, who has been a friend every since our grade 3 Deloraine Primary School days! I took along some cosies from my personal collection of antique and art cosies. Above is "Teacosy* Number 6, Sweden cosy", which I made at the end of 2005 when I was working on a suite at the Ice Hotel in Northern Sweden with fellow Tasmanian artist, Julia Adzuki. The stories involved in the making of each cosy are always entertaining to retell and they locate the cosies as cultural objects within a global environment and cultural aspect. This is the reason I keep making tea cosies...to take them out of the kitchen cupboard and rescue them from the second-hand shop or landfill rubbish dumps and give them a new life. Tea cosies are also effective energy efficient heat storage devices which cut down on power consumption and the need to regularly boil a kettle. A good tea cosy will keep a pot of tea warm for up to four hours! In Korea they use rice bowl covers to do the same thing with bowls of rice. These covers look remarkably like tea cosies and are traditionally made of silk and cotton, silk being a wonderfully efficient and light heat-storing textile.
Explaining to the students what tea cosies are and what they do and showing them some of my tea cosy creations. This tea cosy now belongs to my partner, Rainier, who bought it at one of my exhibitions before we started seeing each other...how's that for seduction?!
First I got the students to cut out the shape of their desired tea cosy with paper and put their name on their pattern piece, which I then laid out with the others on an old Waverly Woollen Mills (Tasmania) blanket and cut two sides. Then I set up each student with a needle and thread (which took quite a while, even with the help of their teacher and a parent and another helper...thanks so much guys!!), and we got them all to sew their cosies together and then they could choose to stitch or/and glue their decorations on to personalise their cosy. I've never seen so many happily occupied and enthusiastic kids, with the ones who knew already how to sew helping the ones who'd never stitched in their lives! It was so much fun!
One of the finished tea cosies, a folding cushion-like cosy without its ties stitched on and sporting some very fine glued decoration of a skull and lace face. The objective was to get a group of 28 schoolgirls to sew, decorate and take home a tea cosy they'd made, all in one day, with a teaparty to finish with. We did a rotation system where, whilst some students were sewing, a small group would go and make scones for the Devonshire Tea part of the tea party. I can safely say that when the need arises, I have the vocal abilities and authority of a Sergent Major in a skirt! The kids were all really great and very excited and enthusiastic, which was wonderful! They were so inspiring and appreciative, it really was a very rewarding experience and I'd like to keep doing these Teaparty and Tea cosy making events in schools.
Another tea cosy...the student spent a long time gluing beads and buttons and sparkles on to her cosy, which we had to put over a chair back to dry! There was glue everywhere, she had a great time!

Teacosy* Revolution Teaparty and Cosy making day at Ravenswood Primary, Tasmania...making the tea

Making tea for the 28 schoolgirls, the teacher and myself! This teapot is an ex-Shearing Shed mainstay by the looks of it's repairs and wear. One of those fabulous teapots that carries so many years of hard working experience with it, and makes a damn fine cup of tea!
Showing off the skirt I made for special occasions such as Teacosy* Revolution Teaparties. The embroidered text on my right hand backside (not a pregnant belly, just an awkward angle!), is in French, "Ouvrage de longue haleine", which translates as "A work of long duration; a tedious task". I love the play of beautifully embroidered text carrying such a message.
The tea cosy I'm holding on the teapot was made by a little old lady in Launceston (Tasmania), who sells her cosies through the local CWA (Country Women's Association), shop. I bought another one she'd made with an Australian Rules footballer kicking a goal embroidered on it, for a friend's baby boy last year too! A gift that keeps giving...The textile teacup and saucer in my hair was made by my mother, textile and freehand machine embroidery artist, Claire Badcock. I love it and wear it whenever possible.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

The Teacosy* Revolution prepares for an Australian Summer!

This is 'Teacosy* Number 14; 1930'3 Kitchen Cupboard Cosy', I made recently for an exhibition at Craft Queensland's 'Store' for their Christmas show called "CHERISH 2007" (web link details to follow after the image of the 'Indian Summer cosy'). This tea cosy draws on my childhood memories of visiting elderly people whose kitchens seemed suspended in the 1930's, with their colour scheme of yellow and green. Perhaps this is typically Australian/Tasmanian memory. What colour do you associate with a 1930's kitchen?! You can reply directly to my email: teacosyrevolution@gmail.com...but please no spam, etc!

The two images above are of 'Teacosy* Number 7; Indian Summer cosy', also on show at Craft Queensland's 'Store', in their Christmas show "CHERISH 2007", http://www.craftqld.com.au. The cosies are made from hand embroidered silks layerd with found metallic lace, woven viscose lampas and beads. I sought to convey the feeling of a sultry Indian summer with all the hot colours of Indian Saris. The Teacosy* Revolution goes tropical for summer 2007-2008 (southern hemisphere!).

Finally, a new posting after many computer issues and blogger being 'out of sorts' for a few days there. After posting the last entry I have received these images of a young woman called Miss Gingerfluff, sent in by her sister, Mrs Brockford. Miss Gingerfluff wears a traditional tea cosy head dress typical of Central Northern Tasmanian communities, and since she is engaged to be married, she wears two tea strainers belonging to her own mother's family, and to that of her future husband's family. She is a staunchly proud young woman which is evident in the pride she takes in her dress and pristine condition of her cosy and strainers. This indicates she is from a fairly conservative and reasonably affluent local family and is marrying into a similar social niveau.

If you have any images or information on tea cosy dress practices from your part of the world, I would love to feature them on this blogspot (they are fictional and rather silly constructs, though I love the idea of creating a fictional/real heritage for tea cosies which sees them participating in various cultural/social roles! Invent anything you like!)