Past Work

Teapotty: Tea-leaves

  Teapot made from tea-leaves 
Completed teapot.

It shrunk quite a lot as it dried!
 
  Black tea brick
The idea of making a teapot from tea-leaves was amusing and it seemed possible.

The Chinese used to store black tea by compressing it into "bricks" like the one pictured.

I hoped I could use a similar technique to create a teapot. 
 
  Teapot from tea leaves I collected used tea-bags and noticed that they got hard and lumpy as they dried.

So I started off just emptying a lot of teabags into one of my plaster moulds and patting it into a thickness of around 20-mm.

As it dried, it continued patting it, using more force when it seemed appropriate.

Result: As it dried further it cracked and broke up.

I repeated the exercise, mixing the tea leaves with PVA glue to create a sort of paste .

Same result - cracking.
 
  test of teapot made from tea leaves I tried creating a sandwich of the paste of tea-leaves and PVA glue with a light plastic mesh inside it.

It didn't look nice but it stopped the cracking!
 
  Teapot from tea-leaves I did the same thing in a mould, adding the opened-up tea-bags to the surface and then putting the whole thing on my office radiator to dry out.
 
  teapot made from tea It worked
 
  teapot made from tea Some nice turquoise mould started emerging.
 
  teapot made from tea  I joined the 2 halves together using more tea-leaves and PVA glue paste, and made the lid using another plaster mould.

The drying process led the teapot to shrink and distort quite a bit, giving it the appearance of something almost archeological!
 
  Moulds for hydraulic press Much later on in the project, I made some moulds for the College's hydraulic press, ostensibly to create the copper teapot.

However, using the hydraulic press gave me an opportunity to try exerting a lot of force on tea-leaves, so it rekindled my interest in trying to emulate the Chinese tea-brick process. 
 
  teapot made from tea I reverted to using just tea - no PVA glue or plastic mesh.

This was the result. Unsurprisingly, the handles broke up on their removal from the mould.  The teapots retained their shape but cracks appeared as the 2 halves dried.

Once again, some nice mould grew.  The surface texture was like velvet - really rather nice!

This is still work in progress.
 
     
     

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