A Teacup Experiment

Don’t you just love it when multiple loves come together into something new? My first symbolic painting, my first ever print, and my first fundraiser (you can follow the link to skip straight to it, if you’d like) are all coming together into one teacup experiment.

Every year my family gets together at the Teslacon Steampunk convention in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a lovely immersion experience full of fun people, historical tidbits, and rampant creativity. As a botanical artist-a pursuit enthusiastically celebrated during Victorian times-I have always been fascinated by the Victorian Language of Flowers, and wanted to pursue something that involved it. Now I finally have.

One of my sisters, a dedicated Victorian and Edwardian reinactor, always attends the Suffragette’s Tea.

Isn’t she beautiful?

An unabashed feminist, she considers Teslacon her vacation–her chance to recover from the world before heading back into it, and the tea is one of the most important moments in it. Every year she heads toward the tea, often running a little late, and every year she leaves the tea seeming calmer and more at peace with the world. She needs that opportunity to sit down with “my people”. People working toward the same goals, sharing similar experiences, with the everyday grind of work and stresses removed. A necessary break that helps give her the strength to get back to it. As convention guests wander the halls with teacups and saucers strapped to themselves in holsters like weapons, and proudly sport their Votes for Women sashes, the teacup becomes an unassuming and unexpected little symbol of equality.

Like all things, the teacup has been used to symbolize multiple concepts, both positive and negative. Interestingly enough, two of those concepts have been “womanhood” and “hope”. To me, it symbolizes women like these, taking a much needed restorative before getting back to the fight. Put together, that’s a powerful combination.

How to appropriately celebrate that? Why, with a cup of tea, of course. In the Victorian Language of Flowers , gifting the flower Tansy, was “to resist, or to declare war”. In the current political climate, is there any better pairing for a botanical artist?

A Cup of Resistance
(A tiny, little guérilla painting.)

However, what is the point of a symbolic painting if you don’t DO anything with it?

So I present my very first fundraiser on behalf of Planned Parenthood North Central States.

Why Planned Parenthood?

Other than the obvious fact that they are an organization devoted to equality and are continually having to defend their existence? Or that you know from previous blog posts that I personally support them? Or that tansy was used as an abortive agent in medieval times, and PP is constantly under attack for supporting this medical procedure?

In our area, we have a community giving day every year that is participated in by many of our local non-profits. It’s a wonderful initiative that helps leverage connections on behalf of a lot of groups working to make the community a better place. However, when Planned Parenthood North Central States participated they were left out of all the special promotions associated with the event, and they were the only organization required to use a disclaimer stating that the hosts did not support them. Despite meeting all the same criteria of the other groups participating, they were held to a different standard. As an organization committed to promoting equality, they have chosen to no longer participate in this initiative.

So! I am complying with the multiple requests I have gotten from many of you to consider making prints. As it is my first time working through the printing process, I am offering it for pre-order only, and for a very limited time (last day to order is April 6th). Half of all profits will be donated to Planned Parenthood North Central States in hopes of helping them offset some of the donations they could have earned through that initiative.

Three ways you can participate:

  1. Support doesn’t have to be financial. I would be very grateful if you would share this little fundraiser with your friends and on your social media to help spread the word.
  2. The art doesn’t suit you, but you want to help financially? No problem. Go to this link to donate directly to Planned Parenthood North Central States.
  3. Like both the art and the cause? Purchase a high-quality, archival print of a fun little piece of art–and then tell everyone you know about it.

As we try this teacup experiment of art and fundraising, I just wanna say I am so grateful for all of you who have supported my artistic efforts to get to this point. From purchasing pieces that speak to you, to sharing kind words and thoughts, to sending random texts of mushrooms growing by the side of your houses (and occasional roadkill you couldn’t help finding interesting), this has been a wonderfully fun process, and I am so glad you have been willing to share it with me.



One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.