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Iona Reid-Dalglish's Elephant English Breakfast Caddy

Iona Reid-Dalglish's Elephant English Breakfast Caddy is part of our Limited Edition Designer Caddy range. The Design was created for our 2014 Design a Tea Caddy competition and the winning caddies came to life this year. You can buy Iona's caddy online here or in selected Whittard of Chelsea stores. 

We met with Iona last week and she answered a couple of questions about her design and the story behind the creation. We also indulged in a Tea Tasting Experience at our Regent Street St James store, where the winners tasted a variety of teas accompanied by the perfect sweet treat. 

Can you tell us a little about your background in art and design, Iona?

Although I officially finished studying art at A-level, I have been keeping it up as a hobby ever since. I love learning new techniques and crafts, and using new media. I have also been involved in a community art-hub and gallery in my local town which is great fun and encouraged me to be braver about entering competitions and open exhibitions –hence my elephant design for Whittard of Chelsea.

What were the key influences behind your tea caddy design?
I saw the competition online on a quiet day and figured, why not?! And once I’d made that decision, the elephant design just emerged. I have an illustrated postcard of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘How the Elephant Got It’s Trunk’ which had probably filtered through at some level. I liked the idea of the elephant taking a sneaky slurp of tea through it’s trunk, whilst the humans weren’t watching. As a family where tea is a daily sacred ritual, the tea tray carries family history and memories along with the cups and cosied pot. So somehow the image also embodies and celebrates all that history and memory too.

Which media did you use to create the design?
The medium was water colour paint on cold-press water colour paper, and some black pen. I tend to work quickly, and the whole piece probably took about 20 minutes. I had been taking water colour classes for a couple of months and was really loving discovering the life this paint had when I was brave enough to allow it the freedom. So a lot of my creative dabbling around that time was with allowing colours to blend and flow, and seeing what happened; very much as they do in the elephant. I like to think the elephant drew himself into being though, not me. 

Aside from design, what are some of your hobbies and interests?
I love singing and playing the guitar, writing, being outside and watching the world go by, climbing hills, cycling, going on retreat, getting lost in a good book (I am currently on ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed –there’s definitely a pilgrim in me and it’s stirring up that yearning to journey, get back to basics, and discover who I am).  

How did you find seeing your caddy in the flesh, meeting the Whittard team and the Tea Experience?
It is delightful, if somewhat surreal, to see my elephant adorning Whittards shelves, and on the website. The tea caddy is beautifully finished, and I have to confess I have already used my vouchers to buy a load as gifts for friends and family.

Coming to the Regent Street Whittards shop today and meeting one of the other caddy designers, Rhian, was good fun. I particularly enjoyed the spectacular tea tasting put on by manager, Matt, at your Tea Bar. We sampled the delights of various teas; white, black and green, as well as cakes to accompany and set off the tastes. I think my favourite was probably the Margaret's Hope Darjeeling, although the expertly brewed Jasmine Dragon Pearls may have converted me to a green tea fan. I was amazed to discover that each individual 'pearl' is hand rolled. The Tea Bar was a lovely, friendly place full of teas and tea wisdom. I would definitely go back! Thank you Whittard Regent Street St. James. 


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