The humble tea towel - I don't think we value them enough- and yet I would probably say every kitchen in the UK will have one- hanging on the oven, thrown over the back of a chair or nestled snuggly behind a radiator. If you don't know what I'm talking about it's a piece of cotton or linen fabric, roughly measuring 50cm x 70cm hemmed and sewn on all sides printed with a design, pattern or illustration of sorts.
As a screen-printer I find the whole idea of a tea towel a delight-you get to print on a large flat surface, there are no limitations on what to print or what colours you should use and it has a functional purpose.
Here are 6 reasons why I think you should seriously think about giving one as gift :
1) They are functional and tactile.
In our digital world where most products are viewed online through styled photo shoots, instagram or web shops we loose the immediacy of touch. Your gift of a tea towel will instantly allow the receiver to experience that wonderful feeling of living in the moment and encourage them to use more of their senses- enjoying the touch of the fabric, the smell of the ink and the design on the tea towel. They'll also know exactly what to do with it and where it will live - there won't be that embarrassing exchange next time you meet of 'thanks so much for the thoughtful gift but I really don't know what to do with it'...
2) They are affordable pieces of art that don't break the bank.
Let's be clear when I talk about giving a tea towel I am not talking about buying the bulk packs you can pick up at your local supermarket for a fiver- just no! What I am talking about are tea towels that have been thoughtfully designed, screen printed by hand perhaps in small runs, folded and pressed, presented in beautiful hand crafted packaging. The type of presentation that makes you sit up and take notice. Art should be enjoyed in the flesh and this an affordable way to give someone the pleasure of owning a piece of textile art.
3) They are easy to care for.
No explanation needed here- wash at 40 degrees and iron- simples.
4) They are economical to post.
Last time I checked it cost me £1.20 to post a tea towel First Class-and it fits through the letterbox- no need to worry about it being sent to the neighbours or a delivery depot if the recipient isn't in.
5) They make a kitchen space look rather attractive.
Yes, yes they do! They can give a fresh pop of colour to any jaded kitchen and I've even seen tea towels that have been so loved that the owner has decided to frame and hang them on their kitchen wall instead.
6) They last and you'll be remembered.
Most importantly this gift is the gift that keeps on giving! It's highly likely that your tea towel will become a household favourite and each time it's taken out of the drawer the recipient will pause and remember who gave it to them and smile as they take your tea towel and dry their dishes.
Finally here are 9 Tea Towel Designs I think you'll love:
TOP L-R: Lucie Sheridan, Stormy Knight, Sianuska
MIDDLE L-R: Jane Foster, Mellybee, Beetroot Press
BOTTOM L-R: Butterscotch and Beesting, Particle Press, Stephanie Cole
All designers are based in the UK
Shop my tea towel range at www.mellybee.co.uk
Or try www.folksy.co.uk for more screen printed tea towels