Jeanne-Marie Webb's paintings on rooibos teabags

Zimbabwean-born, Cape Town-based artist Jeanne-Marie Webb has taken rooibos to the global art world’s centre stage with her delicate paintings on none other than rooibos teabags.

She recently exhibited her year-long project ‘One Face a Day’ in Cape Town. This project started a few years ago when she searched tirelessly for the perfect miniature substrate for her paintings.

 “I happened to stumble upon a tattered old rooibos teabag one night whilst rummaging through one of my old paper boxes, and I thought, why not? It proved to be the perfect canvas for what I had in mind and I absolutely love the concept of creating unique pieces of art on a teabag”, says Webb.

Having tested various teabags over the years, the red residue of rooibos teabags proves to be the most ideal for her portraits – when mixed with primer, they result in the perfect skin tone.

“I had no idea that the medium would become such a hit. During my ‘One Face a Day’ project, scores of Facebook friends asked if they could join me, which later evolved into an online workshop as I shared the process of how to paint creative portraits on tiny rooibos tea bags with art-enthusiasts from around the world.”

The growing interest led to hundreds of artists flocking to buy rooibos tea on Amazon, and there’s no sign of this trend letting up just yet. A recent online auction saw her selling 150 paintings to overseas buyers and she sold about 130 to local art collectors at her recent exhibition.

Ernest du Toit, director of the SA Rooibos Council says the trend is on the up as more artists use rooibos tea bags and even dried tea leaves in their art.

 “Artists are on a constant watch to find new mediums to perform their art in. Taking inspiration from sand-painting, in which grains of sand, are corralled to create an image, many artists are realising the same can be done with tea. It’s also a great way to upcycle and gives rooibos teabags a second life. Artists can enjoy a cup of tea first and then save the tea bag for when they want to work on it. Rooibos tea can also be used as a subtle dye or can be pasted as pieces of empty bags into a two-dimensional painting.”



 Jeanne-Marie is booked to do another online auction later this year which will include some of her other works and remaining rooibos teabag paintings. If you’re an interested buyer you can go to for more info.

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