Sunday, 14 September 2014

Tea Reading

Until yesterday I hadn't given all the much thought to tea reading, well apart from the professor of Divination -and more specifically Tassomancy- in Harry Potter, Sybil Trelawney. A number of people used to say I looked like her due to my thick black rimmed glasses, I'm sure it was meant as an insult but I rather liked her. 

That aside, yesterday I was asked if I'd like to read people's tea leaves at a tea festival next weekend held at Gyllyngdune Gardens in Falmouth. I said yes (of course!) It's the most beautiful location but also what an exciting prospect. I've long been interested in the performative aspects of fortune telling, and although I hadn't given all that much thought to tea reading I am now on a mission to learn!

These pictures are a little taster of what I might wear for the occasion and the expressions I might make on learning your fortune. They are of course inspired by the aforementioned Sybil Trelawney but also in part by Holman Hunt's paintings, in particular this one of his first wife Fanny, for his use of colour and mad eyes (though I have to say Fanny's expression is a little more restrained than his usual models, see The Awakening Conscience).

Sources: 12

If you'd like to practice the art of tea reading (or Tasseography, Tasseomancy or Tassology as it's also know) you will need:

A round tea cup with sloping sides and a saucer
Loose tea (preferably a tasty, aromatic one with smallish leaves)
An open mind
A question you'd like answered

Begin by brewing your tea. Sip it until you have roughly an inch of liquid left. Clear your mind and breath deeply. Think of the question that you would like answered. Swirl the cup counterclockwise three times (clockwise if you're male). Tip the excess liquid and tea leaves into your saucer. Read the leaves left in the cup starting from the top and working down. The outer rim suggests the present and the base is the future. 

Here is a list of basic symbols to help you on your way:

Outfit Details

Silk embroidered smock dress - Gift from my mummy

Floral velvet 1960s skirt - Kilo shop in Poland

Head scarf - Charity shop

Wooden beads and feather necklace - Charity shops

Greek silver owl pendant - Belonged to my maternal grandmother

Eye brooch - Topshop sale (years ago when I worked there)

Pom pom scarf - Gift from a friend

Claddagh ring - A shop in Galway


I did it again and forgot one very important influence on these images; the painting, The Death of Thomas Chatterton by Henry Wallis

Source: 1

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

For we may and might never all meet here again

There is a reason for the prolonged absence since my last post, I have been away in Ireland (Oranmore to be exact) at an old friend's wedding.  I was born and grew up in Ireland and hadn't been back there in 5 years, so it was so wonderful to reconnect with so many people and explore some of the places I spent time in as a child. It made me really realise how much I miss it and I have vowed to go back soon!

My mum, her partner, my brother and I all drove over in the camper van. It was a very long journey- we drove right up to Holyhead from Cornwall and then across Ireland. The van was packed to the brim with decorations; pinatas, bunting, banners and soft sculptures! My brother George and I were a little space restricted in the back but it was definitely worth it; just look at how gorgeous it all looks in the marquee! The wedding took place at Heather's (the bride's!) childhood home, Oranmore Castle, which is one of my favourite places in the world, it's breathtakingly beautiful. It was so funny to go back there having just decorated my own home and see how much of my aesthetic I've taken onboard from there.

We spent the first few days decorating and helping with all the wedding preparation and then on Saturday it was the big day. We got dressed up in our finest togs and watched Heather & Niall's blessing in the Great Hall; the fire crackling behind us and the smell of delicious food wafting in. The food was gorgeous, some particular highlights were the gorgeous cheesecake below and some delicious lobster caught fresh that afternoon. George and I stayed up far too late (we ended up with 3 hours sleep!) and had the best time dancing, chatting and eating! The next day we were back off in the van at 8 for the drive back to Cornwall. It all went so quickly it felt like a whirlwind.

We all had the most gorgeous time and met new and old friends.  I can't wait to go back and see everyone. I'm also looking forward to finally inviting people to visit us over in Cornwall! It feels so lovely to reconnect the two parts of my life and it made me realise the importance of keeping in touch and also how formative my time in Ireland was in the creating the person I am today.

I'll leave you all with this, the first verse and chorus
of an Irish folk song which everyone sang after the bride and the groom cut the cake (with a sabre sword!) It's sentiment is beautiful and it seemed to perfectly fit the mood at that moment:

Kind friends and companions, come join me in rhyme 

Come lift up your voices in chorus with mine 

Let us drink and be merry, all grief to refrain 

For we may and might never all meet here again

Here's a health to the company and one to my lass 

Let us drink and be merry all out of one glass 

Let us drink and be merry, all grief to refrain 

For we may and might never all meet here again

[There will be even more (!) photos soon when I get my disposables developed] 

Outfit Details

Green silk 1930s dress - car boot sale
Green pashmina - charity shop
Floral Headdress - Mrs MacBeth's Department Store
Indian silver bell bangle - charity shop
Velvet heart earrings- Mrs MacBeth's Department Store 
Third eye necklace - Mrs MacBeth's Department Store
Claddagh Ring - a shop in Galway