Retired teacher paints masterpieces - on teabags

Great Yarmouth artist Jan Heath has created this for the Norwich Art Shop.

An example of Jan Heath's tea bag artwork which is on display at the Norwich Art Shop - Credit: Jan Heath

Something different is brewing in the world of Norfolk art.

For a retired teacher with a flair for painting has taken up what looks like a potty idea - art on teabags.

Jan Heath, 69, of Great Yarmouth, first came across this form of art after reading about a woman who had been doing something similar in America. 

She was running out of space for her work with most galleries and exhibitions closed during lockdown, so decided she needed to paint smaller. 

Jan Heath has been painting on tea bags during lockdown.

Jan Heath's 'Slouchy or Slinky' tea bag art work - Credit: Jan Heath

Mrs Heath said: "It was trial and error at first and I had to purchase smaller brushes and a magnifying glass.

"The good news is, I have completed over 50 tea bag paintings and they all fit into one small folder." 

She added: "There is quite a procedure to prepare the teabags." 

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To start the process, Mrs Heath lets the teabag completely dry, before either opening the bag flat or opening one end to tip the tea out.

Jan Heath of Great Yarmouth has been painting on tea bags.

Jan Heath's tea bag art - Credit: Jan Heath

She then irons the teabag with a cool iron, followed by a coat of gesso to stop the paint bleeding and to make the bag stronger.

Mrs Heath continued: "When the teabag is dry the fun starts. I paint in acrylics and pens but you can also use watercolour or gouache.

"As the bag is so small and it is difficult to rub out mistakes it’s best to draw out your design on paper first. Then go over it with a thin black marker and lay the teabag on top to trace over it."

After retiring, Mrs Heath joined the Great Yarmouth Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, and more recently the Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle.

Jan Heath is a retired teacher from Great Yarmouth who paints on teabags.

Jan Heath, an artist and retired teacher from Great Yarmouth - Credit: Jan Heath

Ken Hurst, of the Norfolk and Norwich Art Circle, said: "They are amazingly competent with beautiful little teabags." 

As well as original paintings on tea bags, Mrs Heath has experimented with printing photographs on the bags and then painting over the print.

Jan Heath

Jan Heath's 'Kitty' tea bag painting - Credit: Jan Heath

She painted one for her daughter, who lives in Australia, for her wedding day and has since completed a couple of commissions that have gone to Australia.

Great Yarmouth artist Jan Heath painted this for her daughter in Australia.

Jan Heath painted this for her daughter's wedding in Australia - Credit: Jan Heath

The 'Exhibition in the Windows’ is a new selection of work from 22 local artists at the Norwich Art Shop. For more information, call 07748 303250 or email NorwichArtShop@gmail.com.

Mrs Heath's Facebook page can be found at http://www.facebook.com/justlovetopaint/ 

Jan Heath of Great Yarmouth has been painting for the Norwich Art Shop.

Artwork entitled 'Is It Safe to Go Outside Yet?' - Credit: Jan Heath

Jan Heath of Great Yarmouth has been painting on tea bags for the Norwich Art Shop.

Jan Heath's artwork entitled 'Now, That's A Bit of Gossip' - Credit: Jan Heath

Great Yarmouth artist Jan Heath has created this painting.

'Photo Bomber' tea bag painting - Credit: Jan Heath

Jan Heath

Great Yarmouth artist Jan Heath - Credit: Submitted