Updated: Oct 4, 2022
We are running Taste + Create Workshops each month up to Christmas to encourage creative practice - join us, won't you!?
What is the Big Draw?
“Founded in 2000 by the Guild of St George, The Big Draw is a pioneering visual literacy charity dedicated to raising the profile of drawing as a tool for wellbeing, thought, creativity, social and cultural engagement.”
The big draw also leads the biggest festival celebrating drawing in the UK, which runs every October for the whole month. It is praised as a valid tool for communication and education and aims to influence a change in teaching practice. This is everything that A Little Cup stands for in terms of its encouragement of creativity and reiterating the value of art within educational settings.
Learning spaces are increasingly referencing STEAM rather than STEM (Science, technology, Engineering, Mathematics), with the ‘A’ referring to art. It validates the need for a creative element in functional problem solving. A visual approach can make a real difference in understanding technical processes and MUST be considered in education more!
How do WE approach art?
At A Little Cup, we make sure that creativity is a big part of our process; from the artworks which represent the blends to the inclusion of art in our workshops, we always prioritise having a visual element to our product.
For all the reasons the Big Draw runs its projects - using it as a tool for wellbeing, creativity, social and cultural engagement - it is important that art sits alongside our teas. We also see the offering of tea as a crucial catalyst for all these things and so it only makes sense to enhance this with creativity. Our main purpose for the blends we produce is to grow a community and form connections with others, using the ingredients to encourage stimulation, calm and wellness.
When we look at art within our blending and tasting workshops, we emphasise the importance of individuality and imagination; no mark is wrong, no gesture is nonsense; it is about a personal feeling and instinctive response; it is a validation and representation of the individual. And with that, encourages communal acceptance, which circles back nicely to the offering of a cuppa and what it means to include others.
The Workshop Process: Let’s Break this down!
Let’s break down how we look at art in our workshops. First of all, we think about our response to flavour. Let’s use Strawberry Fields as an example:
The flavours in Strawberry Fields we might describe as fruity and sweet. There is often a mallow flavour and response to nice sweet things, but also the sweetness can give us a boost of energy, so we can take this into account. But if the taste isn’t preferred, we can also have a shocked or negative reaction, which is just as useful.
We then do a movement exercise where we act out our response to flavour, using some example references: the sugar can make us move quickly; the nice sweetness can make us move softly and thoughtfully; the combination of these can make us use both fluid and harsh movements. Again a personal response to flavour is also taken into account.
How does this movement translate into line?
Firstly is gesture - are the movements we are making soft and flowing (do we use fluid, wavy lines or curling gestures?), are they frantic and harsh (do we use angular lines and shapes or quick scribbly mark-making?) or are they a combination of the two. With Strawberry Fields, it is likely there is a mix of fluid and rough mark making. If the taste isn’t enjoyed, we can also respond in a harsh, quick way to this.
Then comes texture - are the movements we make soft (can we press softly with our material to represent lightness of touch?) or are they harsh and quick (can we press hard with our material to represent stronger, tougher movement?).
Finally, we introduce colour on top. Colour theory is quite extensive, but again is all up to interpretation. Sure, colours like blue and yellow are often associated with calmness and brightness, whereas reds are considered harsher and more associated with danger or force, and greens are in between envy and confusion, but also growth and calmness. On top of this, we also have more literal interpretations. The colours in the Strawberry Fields blend are mainly reds, purples and yellow, with the brew itself turning a warm red tone - so this is of course taken into consideration. But, again, if the taste/flavour isn’t a popular one, we can also use this as an incentive: darker tones of brown, black and blue give a harsher response.
Take this all with a pinch of salt... But our message is a simple one: creativity can be for everyone, can bring people together and can be a great therapeutic and educational tool - try it out!