I want to start a new series in the lead-up to the launch of my new Teacups course sharing some of the reasons why I’m so obsessed with sketching them!
Let’s start at the very beginning…
It all began with my (Great) Aunty Ruby. She was legendary for her creativity and her house was full of amazing things that she had made with her hands – both inside the house and out in the garden (often re-purposing historic farming equipment).
Every time we visited her place she would take us on a tour of all the new items she had made and tell us stories about them. She was special in other ways as well, but her creativity is the thing that everyone knew her for.
When she passed away at the end of 2008 I remembered that she had given me a family heirloom teacup a few years prior. It was a delicate fluted cup that belonged to my great-great-grandmother – making it nearly 150 years old. I got it out, filled it up with tea and then sketched it as a way of remembering Aunty Ruby.
Rather than being an isolated event, it actually led to drinking out of a teacup and saucer every day instead of using a tall fine china mug which was my practice at the time.
This particular cup was also important in the development of my ink and watercolour sketching. I realised when sketching it on another occasion (in the ink and wash sketch above) that the crisp black ink lines from my fountain pen were too harsh for this delicate cup. And so I started using my watercolour for more than just adding colour.
I need to do another version of it soon! It’s one of the trickier cups in my collections to sketch loosely. This is due to its delicate scallop shape and complex fluting. I also think that it’s too precious and so I’m constantly worrying about breaking it! 🙂
Another special cup in my collection is this rather unusual Shelley cup that we found in the back of a kitchen cupboard when my Nanna passed away. Although I never saw her use it, I have created an association between this cup and my dear Nanna. So every time I get it out, I am filled with warm feelings and lovely memories.
There is always some degree of connection between our sketches and our surroundings at the time we were sketching. Looking at a sketch at a later date can recall the sounds, the smells, and other things that were happening while putting pen or brush to paper. But our sketches can also recall how we felt and/or what we were thinking about.
But if you sketch a teacup while you are sipping from it, there is an extra tactile connection between real life and what’s on the page. It’s just an object but by sketching it I can relive special times with special people!
And so my obsession with teacups is deeply rooted in family and treasured memories!
Of course, there are other sketching reasons why I’m crazy about teacups (and I’ll be sharing them in future articles), but I wanted to start this series by dedicating it to Aunty Ruby and Nanna.
Just for the record: This is the last photo I have of Aunty Ruby taken on the day she gave me the teacup. (Nanna wouldn’t let me take photos when I visited her in her later years or else I’d include a photo of her too)
This has been a bit more of a personal article than usual… but I just wanted to share how my teacup obsession is so much more than simply a vessel for tea. 🙂
Do you have any memories of using fine china teacups with loved ones – mothers, grandmothers, aunts, or friends?
I would love to hear about them in the comment section below!
The Teacups Course is now open for enrollment – and available as a self-paced course!