Holding my morning coffee, with two hands pressed around the mug, steam rising up like an offering, I know: it’s going to be a good day. For just a few minutes, stresses don’t stress and worries don’t worry because this perfect cup of coffee is black and strong and a mighty foe against the dumb tedium that can clog my mind. Coffee is my morning muse and a bright companion (always chipper) as we start the day together.
Lately, “coffee-love” has moved to become a theme in my vida arte. And really, it’s no wonder. Coffee is a sexy elixir: hot and broody, with rich tones and deep, don’t-mess hues. Forever an “import” into my Midwestern world, coffee is a high-maintenance crop coming from far-off tropical places that wakes my soul’s wanderlust – so exotic! And I love coffee’s complex personality: black coffee in a white, chunky-utilitarian diner mug is iconic, while the organic form of roasty-red coffee beans is perfectly alluring. Coffee is a delicious muse.
My coffee theme began when I started working with burlap coffee sacks to make raw, understated home decor pieces. I made a series of pillows using Cafes do Brasil’s logo-ed sacks. They were an awesome answer to the cool, but generic, Pottery Barn trend of burlap accent pieces.
Then I made some simple tapestries using the accidentally cool labeled sack backs. With such a bold, stark element on this beautiful fabric, I realized that the coffee sack needs no further embellishment, so I let its pure style stand alone. The black stenciled directives on the rustic-chic burlap remind me of a globe-trekked trunk, plastered with destination stickers and address labels: perfect!
After my coffee sack home decor pieces, I moved on to coffee-inspired jewelry. Giving a nod to the kitschy “coffee klatch” culture, my pieces feature copper coffee pot charms and warm coffee colors: espresso black, chestnut brown and cappuccino cream. And as soon as I realized that I needed coffee bean beads, I knew that I could make them myself. Made from polymer clay, my coffee bean beads capture the organic “seed” form and I was sure to copy a roasted bean’s pretty sheen with a satin varnish coat. (Check out my handmade coffee bean beads in the pictures at the top of the page and here at the bottom. Those are handmade beads, NOT real coffee beans!)
Is all this coffee-inspired art as good as my morning’s first cup of coffee? No. But it’s like a locket that holds the picture of a loved one: it warms the heart a bit.