Tea with a Side of Art

A new exhibition at the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne looks at the work exhibited at the Lyons teashop in the 1940s, which commissioned British artists for paintings that would brighten up teashops ruined during the second world war. We selected one of the paintings and put it in company with some whimsical teapots and our favorite teas.

• George Hooper’s Hotel Entrance looks like what would happen if a Fauvist directed a film noir, with bright colors living alongside shadows.

• Kristina Logan’s Violet Teapot is cast in glass and has a handle of lampwork beads the Hatter would be proud of.

• Susan Thomas’ Teapot looks a little bit like a purple slug moving in a rippling motion.

• Kazem Arshi’s Teapot partially covers deep brown clay with layers of turquoise and purple glazes.

• Butiki Teas’ Watermelon Xylophone is a light blend of silver needle, amaranth, and organic watermelon flavor.

• Adagio’s Summer Rose is our favorite drink of the summer. The blend of black tea and rose petals is not too sweet or overpowering.

• Elena Miller’s Purple Man Teapot has a green hat to keep your tea warm.

• Dan Saultman’s Teapot has a rich patina of copper shimmering through gradations of light turquoise.

• Adagio’s Earl Grey Moonlight adds a touch of creme to the traditional blend for an even more decadent companion to your scone.

• Butiki Teas’ Caramel Vanilla Assam combines assam with all natural flavors that taste like dessert without being too sweet.

• Frank Saliani’s Teapot has a unique, whimsical form with blue-green glaze.

From the Garden

We’ve taken some liberties with how we serve our summer salad.

• Henri Matisse’s Végétaux boils down a plate of vegetables in a few paper cut outs that float between recognizable forms and abstract elements. Here Matisse is at his most direct, the culmination of his ever-loosening body of work. But compare it with Le bonheur de vivre – they look remarkably similar. The bodies start to look vegetal and the vegetables have a human quality.

• Carl and Evelina Kleiner’s Homage to Calder series is a playful take on his kinetic mobiles, with foods like carrot slices, marshmallows, and popcorn.

• Florent Tanet’s Colorful Winter series organizes fruits and vegetables by height, color, and texture. Who doesn’t like tonally arranged brussels sprouts?

• Jorey’s Peas and Pico de Gallo follow in Matisse’s footsteps with flat compositions of fresh ingredients.

• Jenny O’Connor’s Sachets are filled with organic dried herbs harvested at the Kirk Estate in Upstate New York.

• Anne Dowell’s Garden Bon Bons look like chocolates but they’re filled with herb seeds, compost, and clay.

• John and Robbyn Runyon’s Beets are hand-cut, filed and hammered from recycled metal so you can hang the bunch on your kitchen wall.

• Rhonda Turnbough’s Carrot Gossip is an abstract composition of colorful, overlapping forms inspired by plants and people.

• Erika’s Cumin has a nutty, peppery flavor perfect for chilis and curries.

• Annouk’s Sideritis is an herb collected on Olympus mountain and meant to be infused in tea – a true drink of the gods.

The Green Fairy

For Oscar Wilde, a glass of absinthe was as poetic as a sunset. But if you don’t want to risk your senses, we’ve included some absinthiana that will spare you the dark side of the green fairy.

• Manet’s Absinthe Drinker was the original hipster. He wore the black clothing of a bourgeois civil servant, but he was a travesty of the type. The torn, ill-fitting clothing, empty bottles, and shady neighborhood suggest that drinking got the best of him. But rather that depict him as a loser, Manet elevates him to the status of a bohemian hero of the Parisian underworld. The painting itself is huge, and monumental scale was supposed to be reserved for nobility and historical figures. At the time, people were outraged. Why would this anonymous drunk deserve attention?

• Leonetto Capiello’s Absinthe Ducros Fils advertises the drink as the gateway to clear-headed euphoria, which is possible. Obviously she had a better experience than Manet’s subject.

• This Absinthe Spoon is an essential component of preparing the drink. It holds the sugar cube that dissolves as you dilute absinthe with water.

• Dem Bones’ Sugar Cubes are molded into the shape of skulls. Why not?

• Raquel’s absinthe honey gives you the taste without the after-effect. She mixes clover and wildflower honey with the herbs normally in absinthe – wormwood, licorice, spearmint, and star anise. You can buy the Sampler or the Bottle.

• Lauren Davidson’s Cuff is covered with a vintage French advertisement for absinthe depicting a naughty green fairy.

• Kate’s Cuff features another vintage poster that shows a bleeding skull eating the words “absinthe is death.”

• Thea Geurtsen-Vincent’s Lip Balm has the smell and taste of absinthe without the hangover.

• Sara Tan’s Absinthe Soleil is a light perfume oil with notes of orange, chamomile, honey, and mint.

• Ann Stoermer’s Soap combines shea butter with aloe vera liquid and smells like cloves, anise, and sweet fennel.

Stormy Seas

Today we’re exploring the fine line between decayed city walls, abstract art, water, and plant life. Let these textured surfaces show you why.

• Jules Olitski’s Untitled of 1959 could be the crest of a wave, a murky horizon on a stormy day, or a city wall worn down by peeling paint. Olitski preferred to keep that ambiguity alive on the thick impasto surface.

• Yusuke Kagari’s Bags forgo the slickness of new leather in favor of surfaces that resemble decayed urban areas. He deliberately gives his work a decayed look to reflect the richness of concrete and steel eaten away the elements. His white-on-white bag is particularly interesting because it looks as if someone painted a thin layer over an uneven wall without changing its character.

• Xavier Phelp’s Interior of Gambia captures a decayed wall and chair in the town of Basse Santa Su.

• Bard Edlund’s photograph of Graffiti in New York resembles an abstract painting, or even a poem scroll from Edo Japan.

• Nicole’s Mountain Life depicts a textured surface that could just as easily be a peeling city wall as moss-covered tree bark.

• Christine Ness’ Frayed Window Screen is a window into another world – thread that turns into violent waves on black waters.

• Fringe’s Cowl is made of chunky off-white yarn and strips of fabric.

• Kristy Pace’s Vessel Sculpture recreates the twisted surface of scrap metal in clay.

• Laura Hewitt’s Bowl has a carved surface covered with bolts and strands of stoneware.

• Tina’s Men’s Ring is made of silver that’s been hammered and oxidized into a distressed texture.

On Golden Pond

What luck! Here are some koi and goldfish swimming in ponds of gold, paint, resin, paper and wood.

• Matisse’s Goldfish swim among a lush garden that creeps into the water and wallpaper. Even the railing resembles a climbing vine. The compression of all these elements allows Matisse to explore color and composition in the most vibrant way possible. We know he encountered Japanese decorative work, and his vase of goldfish looks like a modern interpretation of this Inrō from the Edo period. Traditional Japanese clothing didn’t have pockets, so inrō were cases that opened into several nesting boxes meant to hold small objects – like a handbag. The stylized waves were made by hiramaki-e, a technique that involved dusting gold powder on the lacquer while it was still wet. Matisse’s vase also has a golden glow reflecting in the nearby plants.

• Riusuke Fukahori’s Goldfish are paintings suspended in resin, but the finished works look so much like real fish that you have to watch this video to believe that they come into being through a meticulous process of layering.

• Aya Wind’s photograph of Goldfish captures dashes of orange-red and translucent tails intersecting.

• BMC’s Watch is made of transparent resin printed with a colorful koi design.

• Sipho Mabona’s Koi are delicate sculptures each folded from one square of uncut paper.

• Suzanna Schlemm’s Koi in Clear Tank depicts the fish in loose brushstrokes swimming in pale blue water.

• Candy Coated’s Koi Swimming is a screenprint in shimmering red and gold inks.

• Justin Rothshank’s Tumbler made of wheel-thrown clay covered with decals of koi and vintage flowers.

• Mochi Liu’s Tea Bowl has a deep brown exterior with black bamboo leaves and a koi fish on the inside, painted by his father Xiaoyong Liu.

• Takuyo’s Silk Scarf is hand-painted with an elegant red koi swimming in waves of blue and grey.

Dot Dot Dot

How do you like your dots? Working together nicely, playing tricks on you, sporting every color of the rainbow? We’ve got all of those right here.

• Paul Signac’s The Town Beach depicts the small fishing village of Collioure with the scientific precision and stifling calm that would distinguish Pointillism. Earlier that year, Signac met Van Gogh in Paris and in the coming years they would continue to paint together outdoors and maintain a correspondence through letters. Their styles of painting could not be more opposite – Van Gogh’s expressive brushstrokes were not subject to Signac’s strict rules – and yet the two had a mutual understanding and respect for one another. Signac looked out for Van Gogh at Arles, making sure that he could paint in peace. Van Gogh wrote that he was grateful for his visit and noted that Signac “wasn’t frightened by my painting,” as if he was one of only a few.

• Nike Savvas’ Atomic was an installation of tiny colorful balls suspended in mid-air and moving slightly with the help of a fan. At last, you could experience what it was like to walk through one of Signac’s paintings.

• Harumi Nakashima’s Ceramic Sculptures shake up your perception of depth with their amorphous shape at odds with a regular but rippling dot pattern.

• For her series of photographs Ten-Ten Miharu Matsunaga painted a uniform network of dots over faces.

• Jasmine’s Daisy Ring is a burst of yellow polkadots just in time for spring.

• Evelyn’s Dome Ring combines sorbet shades of orange and yellow that look good enough to eat.

• Holinka Escudero’s Ring frames circles of green enamel in sterling silver.

• This Ring by Soda & Potas is hand-made fused glass in green and yellow.

• Louise’s Green Dots is a watercolor of different-sized pebbles in all shades of green.

• Bombus’ Circle of Dots is made from vintage maps and charts and Book Dots from vintage papers – perfect examples of their mission to save the planet through decoupage.

• Jaime Rovenstine’s Wewe is a dream-like landscape of dots, dripping white paint, and colorful geometric planes.

Euclid Stijl

How many ways can you arrange geometric blocks of primary colors? We looked at design inspired by Euclid’s propositions, the strict order of de Stijl, and objects that make Mondrian more useful.

• Helen Friel’s series Here’s Looking at Euclid was inspired by Oliver Byrne’s 1847 edition of Euclid’s Elements. Byrne illustrated each proposition with color blocking rather than words and numbers. Friel’s business cards and paper models use Byrne’s colors and re-interpret his minimal approach, which was eccentric at the time but looks modern now.

• Charles Biederman’s New York, Number 18 gives depth to geometric abstraction with the shadows implicit in relief.

• Gerrit Rietveld’s Red Blue Chair is the perfect emblem of the de Stij group because of its palette of primary colors and emphasis on horizontal and vertical components. These principles of de Stijl translated into furniture, architecture, and painting, which is why the chair looks like a folded-up Mondrian.

• Matius’ Cuff applies Mondrian’s abstract geometry to a gentle curve.

• Joe Silvestro’s Zigzag Chair is handmade according to Rietveld’s design of 1934.

• Liyan’s Ring is a tiny version of Mondrian’s Composition with Red, Blue, and Yellow.

• Mademoiselle Alma’s Bracelet is constructed from bits of legos strung on stretchy cord.

• Mazizmuse’s Pillow Cover has Mondrian’s color blocked design stitched together on outdoor fabric.

• These Earrings by Artterrace are hand-sculpted versions of Mondrian’s painting in polymer clay.

• Emma G.’s Silk Scarf, like Mondrian’s paintings, is hand-painted and distinguished by its subtle variations.

• Emiko Oye’s Necklace suspends a Mondrian-inspired lego composition from rubber cord.

Revolving Recycled

Kurt Schwitters was one of the first artists to recycle found objects for his work. He saw that all art is a re-combination of old parts. We have selected artists who are continuing his legacy by creating unique, timeless watches.

• Kurt Schwitters was a peculiar fellow – in the best way possible, of course. In my opinion he is the most under-appreciated artist of the last century, and one of the most important, too. He tried to join the Berlin Dada group, but his work was deemed not political enough. But Schwitters is more interesting and complex than any of the Dada artists who so narrowly focused on politics. He made what he called Merz – collages that incorporated objects from his everyday life. The idea was to materialize the inner workings of the Schwitters brain. Revolving reflects his love of machinery as an abstract and aesthetic concept. His most ambitious project was the Merzbau, a sculpture that would start small and gradually accumulate things that came into his life. It eventually took over the houses he lived in. He also wrote magnificent fairy tales. Take a moment to read The Flat and the Round Painter here to find out why painters paint on flat canvases. Just a taste: “he trembled and scrambled in the air, and he shivered and schwittered, like the air under him schwittered and shivered.” I mean, how many artists can turn their name into a verb?

• Natsumi Honda’s series Time to be Included materializes the myth of the tortoise and hare by making them out of tiny watch parts.

• This early nineteenth-century Watch has a dusty gold cover and looks like it belonged to an English gentleman. A Mr. Darcy, perhaps?

• These Steampunk Cufflinks by edmdesigns reveal the gears and parts of vintage gold and silver watches.

• Floris van Bergem’s Watches are hand made in a sleek, military aviator style.

• This Watch by Vintage WatchWorks captures classic American craftsmanship of the early 1900s.

• Naomi Muirhead transforms watches into other kinds of jewelry – her Ring frames a vintage Letix watch face in sterling silver, and her Pendant suspends a 1920s Art Deco style watch face from a gunmetal chain.

• This Watch by Oldwatch Lee combines a brass case with a thin leather band.

• Scott Wilk’s Watch has orange dial sections made of luminous resin that glows in the dark.

• Hershal Wiggins’ Watch has a dial made of Argentium silver accented with two pure gold squares.

Natural Geometry

 Perhaps we’ve been looking for abstract art in all the wrong places. What about lagoons and tulip fields? Or rooms saturated with color? We’ve also picked out a few items that combine pink and orange particularly well.

• Ellsworth Kelly’s Orange Red Relief staggers two monochrome panels to create the most basic kind of relief. The simplicity of this internal relationship focuses your attention less on the painting itself and more on the architectural space around it.

• The Hutt Lagoon, photographed by Steve Back, looks like a pink monochrome painting, but it’s a real place off the coast of Western Australia. The concentration of algae produces the beta-carotene that makes the water so pink and protects the plants from the sun.

• Dutch still lifes take on a whole new look from above. The Neat Rows of purple, orange, and green are tulip fields, taken by Normann Szkop in the north of Holland.

• Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation is an immersive experience of walking through a room saturated with three colors. Like abstract paintings come to life, these rooms single out color as a tangible part of the environment.

• Laura’s Pillow Cover combines bright red, pink, and orange squares in durable Sunbrella canvas.

• This Bag by Frau Lili is made of soft pink leather and a red suede handle that ties in the middle.

• Kaz Robertson’s Ring looks like a piece of candy with cream stripes covering a red square made of resin.

• Inese’s Wrap is made of slightly shimmering, coral pink mohair, and you can adjust it to be a shrug, scarf, or hat.

• Emma Lawrenson’s Opening is a screen printed window in geometric segments of orange, red, and pink.

• Szilvia Theia’s Necklace is a color-blocked wooden polygon, perfect for an abstract art lover.

• Ruth’s iPhone Case will make your phone resemble a berry popsicle, with stripes of red and pink.

• This Decorative Ball by Rainbow Origami is a complex structure made from red, pink, and cream paper with no adhesives to hold it together.

No. 61

 Everything about Rothko resists definitive meaning – the fuzzy edges, limited palette, numbered canvases – and asks you to make up your own mind, in person. Here are a few answers to the open invitation.

• Paul Van Rij’s Blue on Blue seems to continue Mark Rothko’s No. 61’s abstract ocean.

• The Hien Le Fall 2013 Collection was inspired by the soft transitions between Rothko’s color panels.

• Topaz Turtle’s Resin Bangle balances diagonal blocks of blue and white.

• Elvia Perrin’s Destination 6 is an abstract etching made using copper plates to create a rich surface that resembles moving water.

• Jonesyinc’s Scarf combines cool shades of grey and blue linen.

• Miss Lina’s Clutch is made of navy blue and silver leather with a tassel attached to the zipper.

• Marta Sabate’s Resin Ring has a flat top with a finish that looks like crystal sugar.

• Fiona Pitkin’s Pillow creates subtle gradations of blues on velvet.

• Michele Grimson’s White Study is a Rothko-inspired painting that harmonizes blue, white, and green.

• Brittany Bly’s Earrings are miniature Rothkos, part of her series of earrings inspired by mid-century abstract painters.