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YUNOMI / Art & Culture  / Ruby Silvious: 26 Days of Tea in Japan

Ruby Silvious: 26 Days of Tea in Japan

Who is Ruby Silvious?

Ruby Silvious is not your average artist. Ruby turns trash into treasure. She breathes life into disregarded fragments of  everyday objects. She finds beauty in things the average person overlooks.

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A professional graphic designer and internationally educated woman, Ruby Silvious has been using mixed media and found objects to create unique artwork. Her art has minimal environmental impact while creating images of great emotional value. Her tea bag project has inspired artists around the world.

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In addition to tea bags, she has been known to create art from other objects such as eggshells, pistachio nutshells, and food wrappers. Those interested in her work are encouraged to follow her on instagram @silvirub.

26 Days of Tea in Japan

In June of 2016, Silvious participated in an artist residency program in Itoshima, Japan at Studio Kura. During this time, Ruby contemplated both contemporary and traditional Japanese themes while enjoying at least 26 cups of Japanese tea. Her Japanese inspired work offers a rather classical look at the country through foreign eyes.

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All images by Ruby Silvious used with expressed permission of the artist.

Interview with the Artist

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Yunomi had the opportunity to interview Ms. Silvious. Her responses shed light onto the motivation and meaning behind her tea project. When asked about the background of her project, Ruby replied,

“For the past few years now, my focus has been on creating art with found and discarded materials. Last year when I was deciding what medium to use for my visual journal, the size of the tea bag appealed to me. It was both manageable and realistic in terms of getting a completed project done every day.

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On the third day of January 2015 (hence the two missing days), I resolved to use tea as the subject of my daily ritual. Every day for the entire course of the year, I painted, collaged, folded, and printed moody, evocative, and sometimes whimsical impressions of the moment on the emptied out, used tea bags.”

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Ruby continues to talk about the intimacy of using tea bags and the unique colors offered by the natural stains. Yunomi wanted to know what inspired the artist to work with such a mundane but intriguing object. The artist responded,

As a recycle artist, I’m always looking for fresh ideas and techniques on which to create my art. The used tea bag had an intimate appeal, especially with its natural sepia stains, that’s why I chose it for my canvas. The variety of shapes and colors the tea bags came in, added special interest. Best of all, I loved that these materials were portable enough to take with me anywhere. It was handy to bring with me on my travels during the course of the year.

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Here at Yunomi we believe in enjoying a life steeped in tea. For millions of people around the world, tea is much more than a beverage. Teatime is for reflection, relaxation, and simplicity. Tea allows us to live life slowly in a hectic, modern world. Likewise, Ms. Silvious found the same peacefulness when creating her unique work. She elaborates,

Tea, just like creating art, calms me down, especially during stressful moments. I drink 2-3 cups a day, and even more so during the winter. Over time, I’ve noticed not only the health benefits of tea, but also lots of practical uses for the used tea bag other than being an art canvas.

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363 Days of Tea

Starting her journey in January 2015, Ruby set out to create one painting every day of the year. Since then, she has published a book based on the project. Her project created a whimsical look at ordinarily life situations, painting beautiful scenes on her repurposed tea bags.

*All artwork featured in this article belongs to Ruby Silvious.

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Victoria Garafola

Victoria is an American writer living in Osaka, Japan. She enjoys traveling to new countries and experiencing foreign culture.

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