Tea & Cake

I have decided to start design for my panel in the form of an altered board book. I picked up a Child’s board book from one of Eastleigh’s many charity shops for 50p and set about altering it.

First I sanded it roughly to removed some of the obvious print, wiping of the residue with a baby wipe. Then, I covered the covers and pages with gesso  Once the gesso was dry the original text and pictures was pretty much hidden but was definitely covered when I painted the pages with a mixture of general acrylic and textile paint. I blended in the colours with a sponge paint roller. This left me a board book ready to collage and paste things in.

Although my Grandma baked most of her cakes she did buy Mr Kipling’s French Fancies on a regular basis. I loved them more for their style rather than their content. They are nestling on a plate with some butter whirls – these were the simplest of biscuits that Grandma made but were always wonderful – butter, sugar, flour with a cherry on top.  The Chocolate dipped Viennese fingers were a similar recipe and have been nestled amongst some choux buns.

For the collage I used a selection of papers: Origami calendar, distressed kraft, bits from my first batch of handmade paper, and crayoned tissue paper. I also used a couple of paper doilies as a stencil to create the lace effect.

Grandma used doilies a lot, although I remember her also using this plastic doilie which the mere mention of brings a pained look to my mother’s face. By the way where do you get doilies from now? They are quite out of fashion and so even John Lewis have stopped selling them. When I finally tracked some down the lady in the cake decorating shop where I got them from admitted that most of her customers for them used them in art projects as I was doing.


My Grandmothers usual tea making things consisted of a stainless steel tea pot (plus knitted cosy) and either some bone china mugs or some browny green cups and saucers that went with her dinner plates. Very practical. One thing she did give me though was a really pretty pink tea set which is gilded (and still is – one thing that I have managed to prevent M. putting in the dishwasher, unlike Grandma’s cake plate that I got…. boy, did he get a tongue kicking when he did that). The tea set was originally her aunt’s – my great great aunt – who my sisters and I all “lovingly” called Aunt Smelly (mainly ‘cos it rhymed with her name Nelly).

The series of cups are collaged from papers extracted from magazines, old origami calendar paper, and brusho/bleach papers from previous design work.


This collage was inspired after my recent visit to the V&A. In the British galleries there were a selection of 18th Century teapots and in the shop there were some crafted cups which had been made out of unglazed porcelain which had been stitched into.

The large teapot was collaged onto white card using a very pretty napkin that I found in my “weird stuff” box. The teacups to the right where molded from some modelsoft clay. When dry I gouged holes with a thick needle and then used a thiner needle and some embroidery floss to decorate.

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    What's Gesso?

  2. Kathy says:

    Love this idea! I have so many board books laying around, and now I want to paint over some to start some projects!

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