The amazing Ruby Silvious, author of 363 Days of Tea: a Visual Journal on Used Tea Bags, joins me on the podcast this week. As I record this podcast, I’m slowly working on and growing the 33K Task List Project. After facilitating a craftworking (crafting + networking) event in Ruby’s town, the librarians lovingly wouldn’t let me out of there without the copy of 363 Days of Tea. Today's episode is a great example of how you really never know how things are going to come together. The librarians’ recommendation ultimately led me to reach out to Ruby. And that, friends, is how I met Ruby. She is a visual artist and a graphic designer whose recent work includes experimenting on recycled and repurposed materials.
Here is a little bit more about Ruby: On January 3rd 2015, Ruby started a project called 363 Days of Tea as a visual daily record of her impression of the moment; using emptied, dried, and flattened tea bags as little miniature canvases; altering them to create a new work of art, every single day over the course of 363 days. Just amazing! Plus, she’ll talk about the significance of 363 days, instead of the expected 365 days, which in my humble opinion, is the height of perfect imperfection.
In early March 2018, her art was featured at Art on Paper, an international art fair in New York City. Prior to that, marking the introduction of a new international artist-in-residency program, she was the first resident artist at LM Studio in Hyères at the southern tip of France’s illustrious Côte d’Azur region. There she showcased paintings inspired by her visit in a solo exhibit called Printemps en Provence: 26 Days of Tea. Her art is featured all around the world - in both public and private collections.
In this episode, Ruby and I talk about how she came to be the creator of this amazing tea bag art. We touch on creativity and inspiration. Ruby also talks about all of the things she learned over the course of her artistic journey, including how being an artist, especially one commiting to create one piece of art a day, was a lesson in practicing discipline.
Ready to be inspired? Then listen to this episode pronto(!). Oh, and be sure to check out Ruby’s Instagram feed to see her amazing art! Fixing a cup of tea is optional, but greatly encouraged.
Selected link love + resources from the episode
363 Days of Tea: a Visual Journal on Used Tea Bags by Ruby Silvious
“Take your broken heart, and turn it into art.” Meryl Streep, Golden Globes speech, August 2017
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Shameless Plug: 33K Task List Project
Quotes + selected highlights from the episode
All of this wisdom is from Ruby herself (with some minor edits for readability).
[00:08:09 I had been experimenting on painting on tea bags and I thought, “Well, maybe I could do that.” The realization did not come to me until the third day into the new year. Hence, 363 days of tea.
[00:18:43] I think it's very important for people to realize that you cannot keep going at 100% capacity every day.
[00:23:40] I just wanted to paint everything.
[00:53:40] Chuck Close said it best, “Inspiration is for amateurs - the rest of us just show up and get to work.” I love that because that's kind of where I am. The best ideas come out a process, and they just come out of the work.
[00:56:25] I have learned that it's not the end of the world if you don't finish a project today. You just have to be realistic with your deadlines.
[00:58:10] If you asked me several years ago what success meant to me, success would have been synonymous with money.
[00:59:40] I think being older and wiser, success is just being happy with what you do.
[01:07:18] (Ruby’s advice when someone says they are not creative enough) Start small. Choose a realistic medium, and don't be too hard on yourself. I think we beat ourselves up for the wrong reasons because we have such high expectations.
[01:35:32] Find more of what makes you happy and do more of it.
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