20th January – 17th February 2007, Mon-Sat 10am - 5.30pm
The UK is the world’s largest per capita user of these products.
In 1998 we imported a staggering 180 million kilograms of them, worth
£400 million. To many it still offers an answer to a whole host
of problems. It is Britain’s love affair with tea, which dates back
hundreds of years, that has inspired the exhibition currently showing
at the Bluecoat Display Centre on College Lane. The area in which the
centre is located is undergoing somewhat of a transformation, but don’t
let the building site appearance put you off trying to locate the centre.
At the far end of the centre you will find all that you ever need to
drink your cup of tea in style. Several designer’s work is on display,
but I particularly liked the work of Virginia Graham. Virginia uses floral
transfers and metallic lustre to decorate her teacups and pots. She is
especially interested how ordinary objects become collectable and changed
from their original purpose. She says: “I am fascinated by the way
in which these objects, that were originally intended to be used, are
often collected and displayed behind glass never to be used for fear of
betraying their new found status.” Virginia mixes the idea of collectables
with the everyday by using shapes such as taps for handles and teapot
The exhibition illustrates the many different forms that teapots can
take. Melanie Brown has created a range of teapots made from fine porcelain,
which have a strong Chinese influence. Her collection of ‘Families’
are sleek and elegant, utilising additions such as silver and cane handles.
In contrast, Jacob Van Der Beugal uses thick earthy black stoneware clay
that contains large particles of sand, creating a speckled appearance.
All the pieces on display are available to buy, enabling you to drink
your tea in style.