billy tea – wall art

This product is an example of something Rita has made in the past. She is a botanical dyer with years of experience who shares her knowledge through social media and workshops. Rita lives in Austalia and her products are sold using the Australian Dollar on her site. We did a conversion at the time of the import, but numbers may be off, depending on the exchange rate. She will help you with any questions you may have.


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As a migrant to Tasmania from Canada, I didn’t know about billy tea until I went on a youth group camping trip when I was in grade 9. I wanted to capture this discovery in my work, and contrast the traditional (slower) process of making tea and the newer (more instant) method. In the bush, a gum leaf was usually added to the billy with the tealeaves; perhaps it happened accidentally the first time! Part of the ‘texture’ of Tasmanian history.

To make this art quilt I began with a piece of vintage damask tablecloth eco printed with eucalyptus leaves and found rusty objects using a shibori folding technique. The featured embroidery is based on my drawing of a billy can and mug from my vintage enamelware collection, on a background of fused tea bag paper saved from my daily cuppas, stitched down with the actual tea bag strings. I also added running stitch and seed stitch in an intuitive and abstract way using perle cotton.
Eco dyed vintage damask; tea bags and string; perle cotton. Background: a found piece of micro suede or similar fabric.

size – TBC


I am a Canadian-born eco artist living and working in the island state of Tasmania. I hold a Bachelor of Education (Art Major, distinction) and a diploma of Art Craft Design; I taught within the state education system, did management and community work, and then found my true calling after having a work-related breakdown in 2002. I opened my gallery/studio exactly 1 year later to the day and discovered eco printing and dyeing in 2008. I have always loved textiles and stitching and part of my mission is to raise awareness of them as a valid art form. My underlying philosophy is to create products and source materials as ethically as I can. I find and reinvent vintage and preloved clothing, fabrics and other materials with natural dyes, paints made from the earth and deconstruction techniques, allowing them to inspire my work. Materials for natural printing and colour are mostly foraged from our own property, where I can manage the trees and plants respectfully. My business is based in northeastern Tasmania, Australia; this is where I display and sell my work.

art is like breathing to me – life and thoughts impressed on paper, cloth, the air; fleeting sounds and images captured before they escape forever

(c) Rita Summers

Visit my website to see what is current in products and workshops. I do offer a few online workshops if you are not local to Tasmania.   Gone Rustic Studio

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