Zen monks drank tea as a means of staying awake and maintaining awareness during their sitting meditations.
A Zen story details how Bodhidarma (the first patriarch of Zen) drowsed off momentarily during a nine year meditation. He was so enraged with himself at this that he drew a knife and sliced off his eyelids and from the soil where his eyelids fell grew the first tea plants.
Resting a mug of tea on my notebook on a cold English workday morning I noticed a a circular tea stain that resembled the Zen brushstroke. As I sipped the tea and considered how apt it was that it was tea which had formed this symbol and how this visual composition was arrived at completely by chance operation.
I drink a lot of tea so figured I might as well capitalize on this fact so over the course of 5 weeks collected ever stain from every mug or pot of tea I brewed on watercolour paper and presented it in a gallery space.
I gave the resultant prints to family members as Christmas presents who
didn’t get it.