The idea to create an exhibition about tea came to mind in 2015. By then I had collected three elements that I felt ready to show, to open an audience to a specific viewpoint of tea:
Photographs of brewed tea in cups
A photograph of one cup of brewed tea reminds the user of common and known colors: yellow, green, and black. When presented as a collection of cups in ten photographs, the viewer is exposed to the realities of a more nuanced spectrum within the colors: a pale yellow, a greener yellow, a vegetal green, then orange to very vibrant reds and then deep black. This series reveals great possibilities of color in between these teas, far beyond what is commonly thought.
Wet tea leaves pressed onto paper
Once finishing with the brewing leaves, I set these wet, used leaves aside and spread them out in different densities onto paper. Weight was applied in some situations. The paper absorbs the discarded, tinted, liquid, which then spreads. The majority of the coloroing is brown, but upon closer examination a greater range of color within brown is seen. The process also warps the paper and begins to alter the texture slightly.
Used dried tea leaves
After they are pressed into paper, leaves were set aside to fully dry. I’ve been collecting these leaves since 2014. At the exhibition 4kg of used, dried tea leaves were spread out on a large conference table. Guests were encouraged to approach, touch, and even smell the tea leaves. The collection of these leaves has continued.
Overall, very little thought is given to the idea of the waste product produced when brewing, serving, and discarding tea leaves. This Is Tea brings awareness to this what is possible with tea leaves after brewing. And sharing my love for the beauty of this waste. I am always pleased to remember, that after brewing leaves, the leaves can be returned to the planet.