Tea Bag Art: Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

Texture invites viewers to take a closer look at a piece of art. Once I saw Crystal Neubauer’s texture techniques, I knew I had to try them. In the July Art Lesson, Crystal uses everyday materials (coffee and tea bags) to stain, stamp, stitch, and stack to add both visual and physical texture and create unique works of art. Such a cool look! And I had everything I needed on hand.

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

As a tea drinker, I had a variety of tea to give this lesson a whirl, and decided that a collage would showcase the results nicely. It was interesting to see how different teas not only stain the bag itself and the paper they were placed on, but some of the tea leaves added interesting texture to the stain as well.

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

Two of my favorite teas, raspberry and blueberry, provided good strong colors.

On another test piece, I used a regular orange pekoe tea bag and another blueberry tea, different brand, and the colors were rather disappointing. I decided to splash some of the tea water onto the background, and I liked the effect. The splashes definitley add to the design.

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

Investigating other possibilities, I opened a few of the bags and emptied the tea leaves. The papers were full of color. I chose two papers and, after smoothing them flat with my fingers, I allowed them to dry. Going with Crystal’s suggestion, I cut a piece of corrugated cardboard, dipped the edge in white paint, and stamped on one of the tea papers. I used the end of a Bic® pen with white paint on the other.

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

I decided to try out a few of Crystal’s other techniques. I chose one of my favorite stencils and placed a steeped raspberry tea bag on top. I placed the stencil/tea bag setup over a sponge holder (The holder has holes, and Crystal said it was important to have air flow), then placed a rock on top. I was not confident that it would work with my setup, so I was surprised and pleased when it did.

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

Adding rust to the mix was another fun adventure. With this technique it’s the tea water that goes to work. I splashed tea water onto mixed-media paper, and then stood a small can and several rusty washers and nuts in the puddle. I let them sit until the puddle dried up, then removed them. The colorful results were worth the wait. I chose this paper as the base for one of my finished pieces.

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

Still in discovery mode, I grabbed a piece of Jacquard ExtravOrganza, and set up a candle (with water nearby for safety). After removing the backing paper, I singed the edges of the organza by moving it quickly through the flame. Holding the organza taut is important, as holding the organza loosely seemed to cause it to singe more than I wanted it to. After a few test runs, I was able to get the organza to singe just the way I wanted. I love the way the organza adds a veiled effect when layered over the stained paper.

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

Crystal’s finished art in this Art Lesson involved stacking several of the stained, stamped, and singed pieces. She stitched around some of the stains on her papers, and layered some organza in other pieces. I decided to rip some of my favorite stains and cut the stamped tea bag papers into shapes. I stacked several of the test pieces and then added stitching for more texture and interest.

Texture Techniques with Crystal Neubauer

What a great texture adventure!

I hope you enjoy it, too.

~ Barb

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Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques

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