(All photos and haiku courtesy of Alexis Siemons)
I swore I’d boycott tea for at least a week after my cell phone slipped out of my hand and plunged into a cup of steeping Earl Grey. A few hours later, I discovered Alexis Siemons’ teacups.
These fun-yet-functional drinking vessels are hand-printed with haiku Siemons designed while drinking and thinking about tea.
A Philadelphia native passionate for prose, her imagination has been brewing since childhood. She says, “I would always sit at the end of the dock, writing and thinking I would someday become a poet.”
For years Siemons has been crafting haiku, jotting details in her journals, saving folded fortunes from Chinese restaurants and arduously studying the cadences of the English language.
In college, Siemons designed her own major—communications and culture. After loads of courses in creative writing, the history of the English language and graphic design, she became an active freelance writer.
During an assignment with a tea corporation, it dawned upon Siemons to write poetry on porcelain cups.
“I feel very fortunate to have discovered a way to artfully blend two passions in my life: tea and writing. In the process of writing the haiku, I learn more about tea itself as I observe its creative complexities.”
(Featured above: Alexis Siemons)
Her haiku are nuggets of imagery; most are simple day-to-day reflections that make you smile, some stimulate the brain when you wake up in the morning, amuse you when you get bored in the afternoon and relax you when you’re ready to sleep at night.
“There is an art to tea that maintains a balance of tradition and creative freedom. I feel that the haiku cups achieve that harmony, as the structure of the traditional Japanese poetry and the physical cup itself blend with my imagination as I write about the beauty of tea.” ~Alexis Siemons
As reflected in her designs, tea inspires moments of creativity. Time to write a meaningful phrase and sip a cup of a good brew require the same quiet contemplation.
“I savor the few moments in which I carefully brew each pot. Within that time, I allow my mind to wander and then express those thoughts in a haiku. My hope is that those who sip their favorite blend from my cups will enjoy those few peaceful moments as they read the haiku.”
A former coffee drinker, she now drinks tea and only tea. Siemons loves the floral taste of Jasmine tea and the nutty flavor of Genmaicha (green tea combined with roasted brown rice) and a nice cup of masala chai. She says, “The spices are incredibly warming. Sometimes I add agave syrup and milk, but most of the time it’s delicious, plain and simple, as it is.”
Although she admits she’s no tea PhD, she spends much of her free time researching and reading about its historical traditions and trans-cultural tea drinking ceremonies in order to pour her heart into her work.
Her lovely custom-made teacups (and coming soon, her unique antique cups and mugs) are microwave and dishwasher safe. She will inscribe them just for you, a friend, or anyone else you’d like to send it to, with a memory, a quirky detail, 17-syllable story or any other personal touch based on the information you provide for her.