Jama's Alphabet Soup

ruby silvious’s exquisite tea bag art

When is a tea bag more than just a tea bag?

In January 2015, New York-based artist and graphic designer Ruby Silvious began a tea-licious new project: she would record impressions of the moment every day on used tea bags. Sharing her visual journal, “363 Days of Tea,” on Instagram allowed her to push her creative practice and “spark a different kind of inspiration.”

While most of us discard our tea tags without a second thought, Ruby saw them as unique mini canvases. Once family and friends heard of her project, they started sending her a variety of tea bags, some with different shapes and interesting tags. Sometimes the tea bags were kept intact after being emptied of their leaves, while others were split open and laid flat. Stains and torn edges became part of the beauty.

I love the great range of subjects — whimsical everyday objects like mugs and umbrellas, shirts and pets, along with evocative glimpses of the natural world, interesting portraits and street scenes. Of course my heart quickened at the sight of soup cans, slices of pie, sushi, noodles, and teapots. 🙂

This past Fall, Ruby published 363 Days of Tea: A Visual Journal on Used Tea Bags as a beautiful coffee table book. It’s wonderful following her creative journey day by day, marveling at her pieces of drawn, painted, and collaged microart.

In 2016, Ruby also worked on “52 Weeks of Tea” and “26 Days of Tea in Japan,” created during her art residency at Studio Kura in Itoshima. This collection reflects a mix of ancient and contemporary style and inspiration.

More recently she created paintings based on art masterpieces such as Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” and “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,” as submissions to the 2017 International Rijksstudio Award.

Isn’t this an amazing way to reimagine the familiar? Artists like Ruby inspire us to look again and embrace the art of the possible. And what better muse than tea? 🙂

Enjoy this slideshow:

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Visit Ruby’s Official Website. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram for ongoing projects and new pieces.

Check out this recent interview with Ruby at Cup Above Tea.


* All images posted by permission of the artist, copyright © 2017 Ruby Silvious. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup.