Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Carne Griffiths: Interview with the man who uses tea instead of paint

From embroidery designer to innovative, highly recognized artist, Carne Griffiths is no stranger to blazing his own path in the world of art. Join me as I get a small glimpse into Carne's life as an artist.

See below: his work "Fall" and following that, the interview

Leah: How do you use tea to make art? What inspired you to use tea, coffee and alcohol in addition to ink?

Carne: I incorporated the use of tea and other liquids into my work in 2010/11, it was an accidental occurrence at first but developed into something that I pursued and actually helped with my handling of colour. The addition of tea is normally thrown from a brush onto the page - I work with freshly brewed tea and the energy and direction of application is of primary importance - I tend not to 'paint' with the tea as this disturbs the delicate patterns that the tea makes when mixing with the inks on the page.

Leah: What inspires your work?

Carne: My work is inspired mostly by nature.  I left a 12 year career as an embroidery designer initially to undertake an exploratory year of painting - this lead to where I am now.  So the influence of embroidery design and nature's part in this is quite evident in most of the pieces that I make.

Leah: Is using natural ingredients such as coffee, tea and alcohol related to the chemicals in acrylics and oil paints and not wanting to get ill?

Carne: I actually ingest quite a lot of the materials I work with now, so although it wasn't a reaction to chemicals in paint - it would certainly be a problem if I returned to any chemical materials.. it has become such a habit to remove liquids from the brush by mouth that I'd be in for a nasty shock if I turned to oil painting.

Leah: Do you drink tea as well? If so, what kind do you prefer?

Carne: I do drink tea and coffee while working - coffee for the high energy boost but I like to drink tea when working for long periods on detailed work - it helps keep a level of work and reduces the up and down spikes that result from too much coffee!  I enjoy wrapped teas, and specialist teas - I have a beautiful clear glass teapot that was a present from my wife - the whole ceremony of making a cup of tea is important but I also like the fact that it is an everyday occurrence and can be taken in stride with the work.

Leah: What is your favourite work so far that you've done in 2015?

Carne: I think my favourite painting so far this year is the Tempest.  It is also one of the most recent works I have completed - it involved a wider spectrum of colours and the use of a number of teas both loose leaf and tea bag!

Carne's work, The Tempest is below:

To see Carne's website click here

To find Carne on Facebook click here

Here's one of my favourites of Carne's work: Flower of Life



  1. This is absolutely AMAZING! I really enjoyed this article. Such stunning artwork!

    1. He's a genius! I can't believe he eats his "paint." It would be a weird texture eating it off a paint brush.

  2. That's incredible! I am always so in awe of artists, but this is especially cool! What a neat medium to use


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