Begins With Tea

 Begins with Tea, 2013, joss paper, grains, seeds, herbs, dried noodles in tea bags, 4 1/2 x 1 3/4" each tea bag, 56 1/4 " x 26 1/4" installation

While my 85-year old grandmother sips her afternoon tea, she shares with me stories of old as childhood memories and cookie crumbs scatter before us upon her dining table. Since last year, I have been saving her tea bags and filling them with old photographs from our family archive. I have encapsulated these photos in Bà Ngoại's used tea bags to signify our time together during which these precious memories are relived.  The contents consist of seeds, herbs, grains and noodles, which are used in traditional Vietnamese dishes, many of whose recipes were passed down to her by her mother. I've gathered these items from her pantry, along with seeds from the fruits found in her kitchen and plucked from her garden.