• Chantel Matthews

Help yourself to a cuppa tea

Wed 21st Oct 2020

Level 3 WM Building, AUT, Art and Design Building

9:30-1pm

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Griffiths Superwine, Gingernut biscuits,

Selection of Tea and Coffee

White and yellow flowers, anonymous.


Reflections

This morning I added bought biscuits to the mix and removed the sign that said help yourself, assuming people by now no longer needed an invitation. By shifting the tea station with these actions I realised I was subtly removing these personal invitations and gestures, becoming a more generic, perhaps open to include others space.


As I left the station to its own devices, I was having a successful throwing morning and by 10:30ish I realised this would be the last day for the tea station. Other students needed the space and I no longer saw the tea station benefiting my practice other than making me realise it was taking rather than receiving from my perspective. It was no longer serving its purpose which was not only to nurture others but to nurture the self.


By 1pm, the station was packed up and I knew it was the right decision at this stage. The work was shifting and I realised that I wanted the used cups to be part of a bench seat.


Bench seat idea

Tikanga wise, mixing kai with where you sit is not tika (correct). I think of these two objects relationship and think of the domestic. a place to sit, a cup to drink tea. Both hold space, give space, take time, give time. Given my hectic few weeks, not taking care of myself, others not taking care of themselves, thinking we don't always practice what we preach. As mothers, partners, women, we give so much and don't take moment to breath and take pause. So, what happens when there is a bench seat that is un-sittable because it is considered Tapu because it is associated with kai? A seat that welcomes you but prevents you, that is filled with pause, moments of self-care, of Manaakitanga through its sculptural visible shards, that is remnants of others chosen time-out, by nurture. What if the seat is too fragile to sit on, too low, too high, even sharp? A reminder that if we don't pause, this is the outcome.


Help yourself to a cuppa tea, 2020. Tea, baking, bought biscuits, wahine cups.


Tue 20th Oct 2020

Level 3 WM Building, AUT, Art and Design Building

10:30-2pm

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, Selection of Tea and Coffee

White and yellow flowers, anonymous.


Reflections

Running late with IT issues, it was a mad rush to get the tea station ready as well as set up for cup making all before my supervisor meeting scheduled for 11am. Not ready for anything, the day was filled with blah moments and although the supervisor meeting gave me some good feedback to work on, the rest of the afternoon was hit and miss with throwing failures as the pressure to make cups to order was creating pressure I did not enjoy. In the end, I gave up on the day for making, determined to start again tomorrow.


On another note, I began questioning whether the tea station was still serving my practice the way I wanted it to. I was no longer looking forward to participating in it as it was becoming more of a chore than I desire to create space to Manaaki through tea and baking. It was no longer serving my well-being therefore could not see it serving others.


I also wandered whether the space had changed as other students work began to encroach on the tea station, feeling like the tea station was becoming a burden because the space was a place of labour, of work, rather than a stop and drink tea.


Help yourself to a cuppa tea, 2020. Tea, baking, wahine cups.


Wed 30 Sep 2020

Level 3 WM Building, AUT, Art and Design Building

10-2pm

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Selection of Tea and Coffee

Cheesy Mayo w Vegemite Scones, White flowers given by my girlfriend Lisa with the addition of gifted red and yellow flowers.


Help yourself to a cuppa tea, 2020. Tea, baking, wahine cups.


Tue 29 Sep 2020

Level 3 WM Building, AUT, Art and Design Building

10-2pm

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Selection of Tea and Coffee

White flowers given by my girlfriend Lisa.

20 Cups


Reflecting on Postgrad students conference.

Can art just simply make you smile

Just be a map of time and space

Exist to record moments, experiences

About relationships

Does it have to be more complex


I realised that the cups are just a metaphor for relationships, for time out with yourself and with others. It is about like-minded and surrounding yourself with people who may share in common interests with you. Who might value and believe in what you do, or not, adding to the diversity that is life. It's not about the cup, it is about the holder, the held, who holds who? To exist, is the cup holding space for you or are you holding space for the cup?


Someone added red and yellow flowers to the vase today.

Matt from 3d Lab mentioned a student saying "I like it when Chantel is here, it makes my day" which was really nice.

18 cups and 1 glass left.

Decided to add a table for tomorrow to see if anyone sits.


Help yourself to a cuppa tea, 2020. Tea, baking, wahine cups.


Wed 23 Sep 2020

Level 3 WM Building, AUT, Art and Design Building

10-2pm

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Selection of Tea and Coffee,Mandarins

Purple Flowers


Decided to add some flowers and mandarins to the table today to add spring, colour, and something healthy to accompany the double dark and white chocolate chip cookies that went within 2 hours of the station being open. Interestingly started with approx 14 cups and were left with 10 with no cups in the used container, which tells me they are walkabouts. This is the first time cups have not been returned, which I quite like. As I was closing up, 2 fashion students came down to use the station and asked if they could use the milk, so I gave it to them. I have noticed that different floors have been utilizing the cuppa tea station, which is nice.


Spent the day glazing the 3 Eva sculptures, the 7 cups, and planning the next few weeks of making.

Help yourself to a cuppa tea, 2020. Tea, baking, wahine cups.


Wed 9 Sep 2020

Level 3 WM Building, AUT, Art and Design Building

10-2pm

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Selection of Tea and Coffee, Cheesy Savoury Muffins with Weetbix Slice


Spent this day in the lab working on the 3 Eva Sculptures and completed 7 out of 10 attempted cups. Today I decided to have no expectations and leave the cuppa tea station to do its thing. The baking was another successful run, with only a few pieces left over from the large batches made.

Help yourself to a cuppa tea, 2020. Tea, baking, wahine cups.



Thur 3 Sep 2020

Level 3 WM Building, AUT, Art and Design Building

10-2pm (Turned the 10 cups I made yesterday into something else!) see Studio

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Selection of Tea and Coffee, Lemon Yoghurt Cake


Day 2 was a very different experience. A simplified version where only two types of tea were provided. Good old Bell Tea, Green Tea, and coffee. The same chocolate chip cookies were made again, a winner and my signature lemon yoghurt cake with cream cheese lemon and coconut icing.


Comfortable with the setting, I left it to do its thing, and I think it was a success. More people engaged and participated, less hesitant to help yourself. Some heard students telling other students about it and helping themselves to even staff enjoying the space.


I found a moment of pause as I grabbed me a quick cuppa. In-between making, a briefly chatted with a student from Denmark who was also in the wetlands working. We discussed our practices where she uses sound, perhaps in the same way that I use tea.


Help yourself to a cuppa tea, 2020. Tea, baking, wahine cups.


Wed 2 Sep 2020

Level 3 WM Building, AUT, Art and Design Building

10-2pm ( Making cups during cuppa tea opening hours, 10 cups made)

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Selection of Tea and Coffee


First day of exploring the relationships between wahine well-being, cuppa tea station as a social practice, and how it fits into my research/practice. The idea to create a space that holds space for others. A space for pause that nurtures others through gestures of tea and homemade baking. An area where people who may not otherwise cross paths and engage find themselves connecting through participation, through a common act of making a cup of tea or enjoying kai that has been prepared with the participant in mind.


One question that was highlighted to me during this time was, "who holds space for you?" my response was that the cup holds space for me, and tea is a mechanism I use to create pause when I need it.


Reflections

The cuppa tea station, although planned, was set up haphazard like due to not having a clear vision other than this would be a trial and error, the process of elimination. Everything was thrown in the pot, Every tea selection you could think of and coffee. The floors were heavily marked with safe distance crosses and a mix of second hand, home, and newly bought items. By the end of the day, I knew what was necessary and what wasn't.


Comments were made that they talked to people they had never talked to before, that the cups were lovely despite their petite and quirky centres and that the biscuits were yum. I didn't want to take pictures, take away the moment, and steal space from others, asking if I could take a picture that seemed wrong, but documentation seems right.


Help yourself to a cuppa tea, 2020. Tea, baking, wahine cups.