A simple cup of tea was the inspiration for an exhibition by fibre artist Wilma Simmons that will open at the new Newcastle East premises of Timeless Textiles Gallery in September.
After water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world and crosses all cultures. Well-loved local artist Wilma, who is presenting her second exhibition at Timeless Textiles Gallery, loves everything about tea and drinks it every day.
She was inspired to create the pieces for her exhibition, entitled Leaves of Distinction, by the experience of drinking tea, as well as by literature about the comforting beverage.
“I love the smell, taste and experience of tea – all types of tea,” she explains. “In most of the world, drinking and offering tea signifies trust and friendship. Drinking a cup of tea means warmth, peace and comfort to me and obviously to many others who write lyrically about their tea experiences.”
In 2012, Wilma’s sister gave her a book of poetry by Elizabeth Darcy-Jones describing various tea-leaf types as people. While sipping tea and imagining the teas’ personalities, Wilma also saw them as art dolls. The other literature that has inspired the exhibition ranges from the sublime – the tea poetry of Lu Yu (c750): “tea…. does more than brace the body. It opens the eye of the spirit, it suffuses one with peace…” to the ridiculous by Edward Lear:
There was an old man of Dumbree, Who taught little owls to drink tea; For he said, 'To eat mice, Is not proper or nice' That amiable man of Dumbree.
The exhibition commences on Thursday 18 September, with an official opening at the new location for Timeless Textiles Gallery (90 Hunter Street, Newcastle East) from 6-8pm, and runs until 12 October 2014.
I call my art works “handmade treasures” which are inspired by people, places, heritage and literature, and are influenced by an eclectic range of media and approaches. I can’t boast of a childhood interest in creating art, unless designing paper clothes for paper cut out dolls counts! After University when I married and lived in small isolated country towns, I joined spinning, weaving, macramé and pottery craft groups and sewed, knitted and crocheted clothes for myself and our children. My interest in textiles remained a hobby while I followed a career in English and Drama teaching. Cloth doll making, embroidery and beading alleviated the everyday work stress of being a high school principal, a job which also gave me great joy and satisfaction. Not being a “retiring” type, when I finished work in 2005, I began to teach beading and art doll making, gave birth to Empress Wu Designs, volunteered with a village project in Papua New Guinea and became an accredited Contemporary Clay Instructor (polymer clay and precious metal clay – silver). My current work is a coalescence of both past and newly acquired skills, techniques and ideas.
Details are available on the Gallery website www.timelesstextiles.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to be put on the Gallery mailing list.