Tag Archives: animals

Teabag Totems

I love the alchemy, which happens when you take something insignificant and useless which is about to be discarded and turn it into something special and exquisite.

For a long time I have been saving my used teabags, as they are very helpful when you want to light a fire. Now it has become winter and we will not make a fire outside for a while, and my husband urged me to rather get rid of the teabags we are now using…

He is right. But I cannot help it, that once I get pressurised into discarding something, my mind will switch into alarm mode to check if there are not any other ways to recycle or reuse it.

And so the Teabag Totems were born. A series of animal portraits painted onto used teabags.

It is not so easy to paint such tiny portraits on crumbled teabags, but it is lots of fun and I enjoy the different animal characters surfacing in the portraits. Everybody who has held one of these Teabag Totems in their hands loves them.

Their fragility, the softness of the teabag and their unique personality turn these tiny works of art into something truly precious and special.

If you are interested to have your favourite animal or totem animal painted on a teabag and delivered to you or a friend, then just contact me in the contact form below. You can also select one of the finished little teabag artworks shown below. The portraits are painted with high-quality gouache paint and fineliner onto 6 x 4cm used teabags.

The price for a unique Teabag Totem animal portrait is 30€ (excl. postage). It comes in a see-through plastic box, which is also suited as a temporary display stand. After I received your order, I will send you an invoice. Only once I have received your payment, your Teabag Totem will be sent to you.

(Please click on the images to see a larger view.)

View more Teabag Totems by clicking here.

And here is my framing suggestion:

Contact form for ordering your own unique Teabag Totem, painted by Imke Rust:

Connecting the Dots

I am on a mission to connect the dots of my life to finally figure out some important things. As part of that, and for some fun learning, I enrolled into an exciting course learning about totem animals and how they can help and guide us in our lives.

The course gives so much food for thought. Even though I initially I enrolled in the hope of ‘just some creative fun’ to add spice to my serious soul search for deeper answers, the course has completely drawn me in and provided such a lot of serious and exciting insights.

Between happily jumping into the fun world of the animals and wonderful kindred human souls who are part of the course or tribe and drawing back in resistance to so many different issues, I have managed to delve deep and hold on to this crazy ride.

I am trying to really let myself go with the flow and allow things to happen. And that is what I want to tell you about.

Black Leopard Sleeping

Black Leopard. Sleeping

Ok, so my main foundational totem is the black leopard. I guess I need to write much more about that at another time, but now I am onto something very different and more immediate. I had been thinking about how the leopard pulls its prey into a tree, to keep it safe from other bigger predators. Two other totem animals of mine move into trees (or live there) for safety.

Then it struck me, that I had a vision about myself as a tree two days ago and because it was so striking I made a small painting in my sketchbook about it.

I felt as if I was a tree growing from the top downwards, with the bottom trunk and roots missing.

The tree could not bloom or produce leaves until those parts eventually grow and connect it with the earth and its nurturing soil and water, its hold and steadfastness. A place to be.

Floating Tree

Floating Tree (quick sketchbook drawing)

I took a photograph, in order to be able to share it or continue working on it in a digital format. When I downloaded it, I realised that there were still a whole bunch of other older photographs I have taken, but not downloaded yet…

Interestingly they were mostly of trees – treetops in the mist and a wire baobab tree that we got as a gift for our wedding. And of the bottom of my coffee cup, where the residue has left…. You guessed it: the shape of a tree floating in the air.

Coffee grounds tree

Coffee grounds in my mug:  can you see the floating tree?

Wire Baobab from Namibia

Wire Baobab Tree from Namibia – another photo found still on my camera

My favourite tree is the Baobab. So I looked up its symbolism. Its protective, nourishing and healing and can survive in harsh climates, because it stores water in its trunk. It is also a symbol of strength…

It is also known as the ‘upside-down tree’ – according to myth, the gods planted the tree upside-down in error.

Which reminded me of my initial version, of the tree growing from the top to the bottom and also about something I created just over a year ago, when I felt depressed and generally pretty lost:

Sometimes the world seems upside down

Sometimes the world seems upside down

These are so many dots connecting and I will have to ponder about the lessons that entails. So I decided to write it down. While writing, I thought I could just as well post it as a blog. I thought that this is probably a bit too spiritual and way-out for my main art blog and I decided to post it first on my Baobabs, Magic and Art blog.  And then it struck me that even the title of this blog adds another dot to connect to the mystical tree…

And it led me further to another poem and image, which I had made and posted on there in June last year:

trying to grow new roots

Trying to grow new roots
In a foreign land
With my feet on unfamiliar ground

Trying to become grounded
Return to the earth
And feel at home

Drawing strength
From below
From belonging

I have no roots
Here
Yet

© Imke Rust

And hopefully I will eventually find or grow my roots so that this tree won’t be floating around in uncertainty anymore, but will find its place and grow into a big nurturing, protective, creative and healing tree. 🙂

Wishing you a beautiful start to the week!