But How?

Hi, I’m Reed Slater. I’m an artist living in Brooklyn, NY. I studied art and design at Pratt Institute. I’ve been working with teabags to create artwork since 2012. 

When people see my scarves the first thing they ask, “How did you ever think of doing this with tea bags?”

It was an accident. 

One day, in 2012, as I was drinking a cup of tea, I noticed color that had seeped from the tea bag onto a napkin.

I tried to make that happen again and more. 

My results were new and surprising. I had never seen anything like it.

I began buying various teas, and testing to see the colors they would make when they dried on paper.

After some encouraging early results, I realized that I was onto something.

Soon, my big, loft apartment was covered with fragrant sheets of paper piled with colorful tea bags in various stages of drying.

But as with many organic dyes and inks, the colors weren’t stable.  As they aged, they began to fade to a monochromatic brown. And so to capture the colors at their boldest, I flattened the prints with a hot iron and photographed the prints as soon as they were dry enough.

By photographing the fresh designs, I was able to adjust, repeat, and make into art that I could digitally print on fabric, then turn it into various products.

I reproduce my designs on fabric, and then use the fabric to create scarves and pillow covers, as well as wall art - I enjoy creating objects that people can love.