Sunday 24 June 2018

This artist creates incredible paintings using old tea bags as her canvas

New York-based Ruby Silvious uses stained tea bags as a backdrop for her intricate paintings.

Ruby Silvious' artwork on used teabags
Ruby Silvious' artwork on used teabags

By Emily Chudy, Press Association

We all love a cup of tea, but probably don’t give much thought to the tea bags themselves. Artist Ruby Silvious, however, has captured people’s imaginations with her remarkable art made from used tea bags.

Silvious is a New York-based artist and graphic designer, whose current work involves painting intricate drawings using steeped tea bags as her canvas.

She said: “As a recycle artist, I paint on everyday objects – so why not on tea bags? The tea bag size is manageable, and stains left on used tea bags make for an interesting canvas.”

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The artist made a series out of these paintings, in which she created a tea bag painting every day.

Silvious said: “When I first began work on the series, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. Instead of coming up with a theme for the entire year, I found it easier to paint momentary impressions and give shape to them with a tea bag as my canvas.

“I painted lots of flowers and then everyday objects that fired my imagination – a sweater I found on sale, take-out boxes from Chinese food, my husband (usually without him knowing).”

The artworks have proven popular on social media, with Twitter users fascinated by the miniature paintings.

The artist has compiled her work with tea bags into a book entitled 363 Days of Tea, which documents a year of working on her tea bag painting project.

As well as this year-long series, Silvious also created tea bag-themed spin-offs, The 26 Days project, which she completed during a residency in Itoshima, Japan, and 26 Days of Tea, which she created in Hyeres, France.

She said: “I used the same media in all three projects: a combination of painting, printmaking, and collage.”

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Along with her tea bag paintings, Silvious also creates work on egg shells, pistachio shells and traditional paper.

She said: “I’ve come to love painting on everyday objects, so now I feel challenged to find new materials to make art from anything and everything everywhere I go.

“If you find that you’re in a creative rut, trying new media may be an effective way to get the creative wheels turning again and to expand your horizons.”

Press Association

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