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Portraits of a Tea Cosy

2013 - 2015

Producing gallery - Warwick Art Gallery

The exhibition travelled to fifteen galleries across five states and territories; Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, ACT and the Northern Territory.

“I knew deep down in my belly that tea cosies are funny.  But I didn’t know the SECRET of the tea cosy until I met Joan.  Joan came to the launch of my first book, Wild Tea Cosies, at Avid Reader in 2008.  She handed me her book to sign and then pulled out her own tea cosy to show me.  It was old and stained and threadbare but she held that tea cosy to her chest like it was the most precious thing in the world and she told me a story.

Joan’s grandmother had knitted the tea cosy with her own young hands when she was a new bride.  Her grandmother had used it every day of her married life and when she died, Joan’s mother had taken the cosy and used it too and now that she was dead, it was Joan’s.  That funny old thing was almost eighty years old and it was filled with all the love and memories of three life times.”
    Loani Prior

With the inspiration of Joan’s story, Loani Prior and Mark Crocker travelled across three states in 2012, gathering tea cosy portraits and stories.  There are many like Joan’s.  And there are those about convalescing and sisterhood, about migration and family history.  Some are filled with pride for a mother or a grandmother’s skill and gratitude for having been passed down the treasured gift of the gentle arts.  One story is wrapped in a childhood tragedy and there is a lovely one about forging new friendship.

“People rushed at the chance to tell the story of a loved one and to show the evidence of that love, those memories, all bundled into a funny old tea cosy.”   Loani Prior

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