TeaScapes grew out of an experiment and a need to do something with a collection of empty tea packages I had saved. One night during an adult watercolor class I was teaching, while the students were working, I played around with transferring a tea bag onto a stretched piece of Arches watercolor paper that I had stained with tea several years ago. It had been sitting in my studio untouched. It wasn't precious to me, which gave me the freedom to play with the tea bag.
It happened almost too easily - using a gel medium coated on the surface of the paper and the package, I laid it down with the print facing the page, dried it, and then rubbed off with paper with a damp sponge. What was left was intriguing texturally. At the same time, I had cut out some mid-century styled chairs from a furniture catalog, and thought to transfer that as well. In doing so, it dawned on me the connection between the tea packaging design and contents and the landscape out West. Each collaged paper is then paired with a watercolored landscape that suits the transfer - the papers tell me what they want to be. You can watch a video of my process here.
I got giddy over the juxtaposition - the way an artist does when she hits an "aha" moment. The meaningfulness behind the work how these pieces mirror my own personal growth through a traumatic period as a mother. The past two years took a toll on my spiritual, mental and physical self. The prior work I was doing with appliances no longer felt important, or relevant. With this, I was able to detach from my environment and go back to places where I felt whole, lightened and free. The works currently are focused on images that tie landscapes from Utah and Wyoming to the tea I'm drinking now (after my coffee - my first love).
The small size, 5" x 7", lends itself to having a sense of completion since my studio time has been historically choppy and short. Each one is painted on Strathmore 500 Series watercolor paper and then mounted onto archival cradled wood panels by Ampersand, coated with UV spray and varnish, and wired and ready for hanging. Since beginning these in February, I'm now verging on 16 #TeaScapes with hopes of creating more.
Six of them are already listed on my site, while any others not sold at this weekend's Maplewood Art & Music Walk, will be added next week. So, here's a peak at the pieces available online now, as well as new works getting ready for Sunday. If you purchase anything, they will be hung on Sunday and marked as sold, shipping next week. Stop by my booth on Sunday from 11 - 5pm - #42 on Highland Place, use 9 Highland Place, Maplewood, NJ on your navigation.
September 27th I had the opportunity to exhibit my work in the 4th Annual Maplewood Art & Music Walk. It's the first time in several years that I set up a booth at an outdoor art fair. And, while I was a little rusty, I was thrilled with the results of my setup, the numbers of people who stopped by, and my sales. There are certainly some things that I might change, but I thought I'd take a minute to share my successes, which I've learned over many years of doing shows, as well as the failures. I'm still learning from my mistakes and will be brutally honest about what hasn't worked.
Before doing so, I have to thank my helpers: my husband, Lee, who gave up part of his Saturday to run errands for me and test-run my tent, and most of his Sunday to help me set up my exhibit and tear it down. My littlest helpers were my two sons, who despite sometimes being difficult to have on hand, were actually quite helpful. Joel, my 6-year old, helped put up the tent, velcro the walls, and hang signage. My 2.5 year old, mostly stayed put in his stroller (very helpful), then played with bungee cords with his brother (helpful while they were having fun, until the big bro knocked over the little bro on the sidewalk). I have to say it wasn't the most relaxing setup I've done, but they all really played a huge part in what you see above. Looking back, I wish I had the clarity to take some shots of them helping.
THE MUST HAVES:
Quality tent. My tent, made by E-Z Up, is over ten years old. It's their standard model with white vinyl sides. While it's been great, even outlasted a small tornado in Sparta years ago, some of the trusses couldn't handle the age of the tent and snapped at the end of its last use. FYI - E-Z Up sells replacement parts! So, for $48 (included shipping), I was able to replace two of the trusses which extended the life of my tent. I was able to place the order a few weeks prior to the show and repair it in advance. Hopefully I'll be doing more shows in the future, which made this a great investment.
Jennie Traill Schaeffer
Sometimes called the Kitchen God's Artist, I'm balancing mothering two energetic sons, a big mutt Ringo, making and teaching art. TraillWorks is the apron under which I create and teach. My own art develops mostly in my West Orange home studio, but is sometimes spurred through my teaching, which takes place at Oh! Canary Studio, located in Maplewood, NJ.
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Studio on the 3rd Floor
West Orange, NJ
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Photos of Jennie by Kat Dela Cruz..