Sunday, December 4, 2016

Embellished Teacup

Once upon a time...I fell in love with the work by a local artist who was doing mixed media and altered art long before it even had a name.  I knew that she had embellished wine glasses (I am privileged to own a few of them).  So when I threw a surprise tea party for my mother's birthday one year, I commissioned her to alter a teacup for my mother.  To this day, this early specimen of altered art sits on a shelf in my mother's house.

Fast forward to present...a small group of my high school classmates always gather together to celebrate the holidays.  This year, our annual grab bag theme is "Simply Red or Green."  The only rules were that there be no food or gift cards and no more than $25.  I gave some thought to what I would like to do for my grab bag gift.  I knew that I wanted my gift to be something that the recipient could create a ritual from.  Drawing a bath, writing in a journal, enjoying a hot cup of tea...

Yes, the tea theme really spoke to me.  I recalled that altered teacup from years ago--even asked my mother if I could photograph it to study so I could create one of my own for the grab bag gift.  I quickly realized that I would have to find the proper adhesive to affix chunky, heavy pieces of vintage jewelry  to the side of a teacup.  E6000 does the trick.  Then I had to contend with the not-so-flat surface of the teacup.  Not all of the jewelry pieces were flush so I might not get a good seal.  Here is my practice cup:

What I learned from this practice cup is that it was very difficult to create a pleasing composition while trying to hold individual pieces in place while the glue dried.  Using a backing of lace or felt would allow me to create my composition before adhering the entire piece to the teacup later.  Much better!  I still had to contend with the curve of the teacup surface, but the felt worked quite well with the E6000.

So here is a picture of my finished composition before I placed it onto the teacup.  I trimmed the felt backing so that it is barely visible.  I am happy that I used chains and rhinestone strands to create dangles.  I think it makes the piece so much more interesting with the dangles!

 Positioning the composition onto the teacup:

And the finished piece!

I created this handmade booklet about Rituals to accompany the teacup:

I think the recipient really loved her new teacup!  


  1. Felt--how clever you are! I'm sure your friend will love it!!

  2. This is a lovely art cup and will give pleasure long after the tea is gone!