The following is an interview with Etsy artisan and poet myteacups. The Philadelphia based artist creates black and white, simple and elegant tea cups, saucers, and mugs with her own unique haiku, poems and wisdom.
1.List three things that strike a cord in your heart.
Waking up to notes on my kitchen fridge from my boyfriend (when he wakes up earlier than me)
Sipping on a cup of tea while listening to jazz music and the rain
Watching old home videos of family during the holidays
2. About the creative process. Tell us about your experience of the creative process, where do you find yourself when the words strike you, and what is your favorite time of day for inspiration?
I often find that I am most creative in the evening, while reflecting on a busy day over a cup of tea. I have a very active imagination and like to replay the day’s events in my mind as if they were a mini silent film, and then I tend to write and fill in the words.
I always write my haiku while brewing a pot of tea. I have a tea tray on which I keep my glass teapot and a few of my favorite cups (collected over the years). I bring the tray into my kitchen, open my purple notebook, put my tea kettle on the stove, place my tea in the infuser, and just relax and let me mind wander as the water heats up. I find that I am most creative as I fill the glass teapot and watch the tealeaves paint the water. I don’t force a haiku. I tend to just write observations and thoughts, and allow the haiku to come naturally. I continue to write while I sip the tea.
3. As a fellow tea enthusiast, I have to ask, imagine this, it is a foggy morning, early and crisp, you can drink any blend on the balcony of a Paris hotel, what do you select?
This description reminds me of one of my favorite paintings: Matisse’s “Woman Reading at Dressing Table”
I often imagine that if I were in that setting, I would be sipping on a cup of Orchid Oolong.
This fine tea has delicate floral notes paired with a hint of coconut. The fragrant aroma balances the richness of the tea. The aroma is intoxicating and reminds me of spring on a crisp morning.
I would probably be sipping the tea from a cup with a French haiku.
4. If you could sell your work to anyone anywhere in the world? (to who and where would it be?
I have actually thought about this before and have a million answers. Although the first response that came to mind is, the Corpo di ballo del Teatro alla Scala , which is probably the best known Italian ballet company. I adore everything about Italy and always imagine that enjoying tea after a ballet performance would be divine. I would feel so honored if they purchased my cups. I envision visiting the dance company to deliver the cups. I would sit with the dancers after watching the graceful ballet and share thoughts over a cup of tea in my haiku cups.
5. What are your goals in the next two years as an etsy artist?
My goals are:
• Continue to write new haiku and refine my craft
• Explore using lettered stamps on cups to “write” haiku
• Collect a batch of antique cups to work with
• Team up with a graphic artist to create a few limited edition tea cups with hand drawn design and hand written haiku to complement the design (I have an etsy artist in mind)
• Sell enough cups so that I can afford to donate a percentage of the profit to Slow Food, “a non-profit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”
• Sell sets of cups to teahouses nationwide (or at least in Philadelphia ☺ )
• Add teapots, embroidered tea towels, and create other haiku tea ware to add to my shop
• Continually be inspired by tea….
6. If you could buy any three things on Etsy, what would they be?
I adore these items and wish I could buy them......
maybe if I sell more teacups :)
I would wear this dress to a tea party...
Small pastries and tea sandwiches would fill this fabulous cake-stand on my kitchen table...
I would head to my local tea shop and fill this bag with my favorite loose teas...
...one day, I would love to purchase items from all three sellers
7. List ten favorite artists or writers.
In no particular order:
1. Ella Fitzgerald (singer) she inspires me to belt along with her
2. David Sedaris (writer) his words excite me and make me laugh
3. Charles Wright (poet) his poems push me to be a better writer and experiment with open space on the page
4. Leanne Marshall (designer) one day I hope to own one her lovely creations
5. Alicia Block (photographer-her work is on etsy) I adore each and every photo, and own one.
6. Sarah Seven (designer) I dream of wearing her creations at several elaborate tea parties
7. Henri Matisse (artist) as noted above, his paintings of open balcony doors instantly send me into a daydream of tea and fresh air.
8. Ernest Hemingway (writer) The Sun Also Rises is one of my favorite books
9. Rufus Wainwright (singer-songwriter) his lyrics are amazing
10. Chris Cason (tea artist) as a tea sommelier he “selects and blends premium loose leaf teas from all over the world.” His teas inspire me.
8. Now, in true Inside the Actor’s Studio fashion, what is your favorite word?
It’s a tie: “lady” and “hooray”
I adore “lady,” because I feel it carries a certain quiet grace with it. It’s polite and elegant and always makes me think of tea.
I often begin my emails to female friends with “hi lady.” I absolutely love the words that it merges with: “ladybird” “ladybug” “ladylike”
I also couldn’t live without the word, “hooray.” I actually have expressed my love for this joyful interjection on my word blog. So in an attempt to keep this answer short and sweet, I’ll just list the links to the blog posts:
9. & Last, what question do you wish I would ask? How would you answer?
Considering the fact that I don’t have an official workspace (besides cafes and my kitchen table), I wished you would have asked me to describe the ideal room in which I would create my cups (I would like to give credit to my fabulous friend Sara, for asking me this question the other day).
I envision a small room with high ceilings and large windows, one of which opens to a balcony (that would have flower boxes filled with fresh herbs-like mint for my tea) . The weathered hardwood floors are only slightly covered by a small purple rug, that is now faded from the vibrant sunlight. Two of the four walls are white. The third is painted a French blue (my favorite color). A long glass table runs along the blue wall, on which I have my porcelain pens, cups, and pages of haiku strewn about. The fourth wall would be painted in chalkboard paint, so I could always see the haiku I am currently working on. A large chaise lounge would sit directly in the center of the room with a record player next to it (my favorite jazz albums would be stacked underneath). This chaise lounge would be special, and referred to as the “word chair.” It would be covered in favorite words written by friends and myself with per manent fabric pens. I would literally sit on and be surrounded by words when I needed a bit on inspiration. A small antique stove would sit against one of the white walls, on which I would heat my water for tea. Next to it would be a circular glass table (I would enjoy most of my cups of tea on that table). A few shelves, placed right above the table would be overflo wing with tea. Bookshelves would be lined with my favorite cups (so me collected, some of my creations).
For more about this wonderful artist see www.myteacups.wordpress.com her personal blog about tea love., or her etsy site www.myteacups.etsy.com .
“Now you understand the Oriental passion for tea," said Japhy. "Remember that book I told you about the first sip is joy, the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy.” -Kerouac