Creating memorable keepsakes
When my friend Elaine G and I first talked about a collaboration, the impatient child in me wanted something in my hands immediately. We discussed my upcoming 2024 Lost in Shanghai tour and Elaine, an in-demand ceramicist who runs her own studio, had to decide where she wanted to direct her energies and time. I soon realised that it would take a while before I held something physical in my hands.
I knew our starting point; afternoon tea was my mother’s favourite time of the day. A cup of Keemun tea always came with a small piece of cake like an elegant madeleine. Though my Mum, Bea, is no longer with us, my family still gathers at my Dad’s home every Sunday afternoon where we share a cup of tea, some cake and other tasty morsels. This ritual is so important to me.
Elaine and I met at a Christmas craft market. The year we met, I left her stall having bought almost all my Christmas presents there. I like to bulk buy and last year, alot of friends got a version of this little beauty:
Elaine didn’t rush me through her stall although there were plenty of people buzzing around her. The way she carefully wrapped my purchases charmed me. She wanted the wrapping to be like a trail to the treasure inside. Then I saw that her ‘brand’ was Elaine G With Love. She is not kidding, I thought.
We have had many conversations since. We put our heads together and then Elaine set to work hand-crafting the Bea Collection. Her adorable little cat Marshmallow is always close by (note: Marshmallow is not for sale).
Initially we experimented with dots on our cups (to match my costume), but they reminded Elaine of a certain supermarket brand and once she mentioned that (Down Down) I couldn’t not think of that. But our dots held the seed of something. My eyes settled on one that was deep red, but a somehow not quite perfect red. The colour instantly transported me to Shanghai in the roaring twenties, but the speckled nature of it spoke to me instantly, saying ‘all is not as it seems!’
We named the colour Shanghai Red and one of the cups will be on stage with me all the time as I perform the show. I wonder if you will notice it?
I am super proud of my friend Elaine. I truly adore these cups. They are perfect for freshly brewed tea, coffee or tasty morsels of your choice. I love them as a pair, but I some of you might prefer either a coffee or a tea cup. As we didn’t make many, I encourage you to pre-order them and with the guidance of Elaine, I can post them out to you in late March 2024. I hope you love these cups as much as I do. My Mum would have been tickled at the thought of the Bea Collection.