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She Collected 20,000 Teabags…Then Made Something That Dropped My Jaw

Artist Red Hong Yi”s incredible creations made with unlikely materials are exploding in popularity. The artist, who goes by her nickname “Red,” already had her work featured here on ViralNova two times, and we just can”t get enough of her.

Red is back with a new piece celebrating her home country of Malaysia and its culture. She created a large portrait of a “teh tarik man,” or a tea seller. Teh tarik means “pulled tea” in Malay, and it”s a common drink found in coffeeshops across the country. It sounds delicious–a sweet, frothy, milky tea beverage. In classic Red fashion, she created her portrait using nothing but teabags.

The final project, from far away, making the image of the teh tarik man, and up close to see each teabag.

Just how did she create this? First, she collected 20,000 teabags and steeped them in varying degrees of water to bring out different shades of brown. She used food dye for the darkest shades. The teabags were then affixed to wire mesh panels in a specific order to create the image of the teh tarik man. From afar, the teabags all come together to create the image of a man pouring the famous beverage from one pitcher to another, all in shades of rich brown.

There are 10 different shades used in the entire portrait.

Red used some 20,000 teabags to create the project.

Arranging the teabags

Arranging the teabags

The teabags were individually stapled to wire grids in a precise order to create the image.

Setting up the wire panels

Setting up the wire panels

The wire grids were then put in order and hung from a wooden frame.

The final touches

The final touches

Even more teabags make up the form of canisters and a shaved ice machine in the foreground, just like you would see at a coffeeshop in Malaysia.

The completed image is immense.

(via Designboom)

Red created the piece in Melbourne, Australia, and it was then transported to Davos, Switzerland, where it”s on display at the World Economic Forum. Red sees the piece as a way to help share a piece of her culture with the world.

For more of Red”s work, be sure to visit her official website, as well as her Facebook and Instagram pages. You can also get a behind-the-scenes look at her work in motion on her YouTube channel.