Crafternoon: Tasseomancy Cups

0111141549For our first meet-up of 2014, we had a crafternoon decorating cups, mugs, and saucers for tea-leaf reading. We convened at the Burrow with cheaply-bought or thrift-store-rescued crockery and a whole lot of Sharpies. Before we got started, Christina read to us from that font of all Muggle knowledge, Wikipedia, about Tasseography/Tasseomancy. There’s a lot of history behind it, starting from methods of reading wax spatters or other molten substances. (We don’t recommend lava-reading). The practice transformed into tea- and coffee-reading once those substances were introduced to Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

0111141548We also learned about some of the different methods of designing cups and reading the tea. Some cups and saucers have meaningful symbols, such as the zodiac, already designed on them. (I decided to go on this theme, as you can see, at left). Others use playing cards, which seems a bit like merging Tarot-reading with tasseomancy, or else common symbols with their own altheiometer-like meanings. Other methods, however, use a plain cup and interpret meaning based on the shape the dregs form, not just where they land.

So, armed with those variant possibilities, we set to work. Dylan put the Grim in his and decorated the exterior with a favourite fandom design. Amanda also went with a tea-leaf esque design and a quote from the books, while JohnMichael went with a Snitch theme. Christina put a bunny in hers, Noah turned pre-existing figures on his cup into wizards, and Caroline chose a bold red design (below). You can see more pictures of everyone’s work, and a few of the works-in-progress, on our Facebook album.

0111141624For anyone who wants to try this, we discovered that using a pencil or a ballpoint pen to trace out your design works really well — you can smudge it out with a bit of spit or alcohol if you make a mistake. Working with the Sharpies takes a steady hand! But even those mistakes can be remedied with a little alcohol. The designs need to sit for 24 hours before getting baked on in an oven.

The Greys are firing everything in their oven today, so perhaps sometime soon, we’ll have a meeting where we actually do readings!

About CassMorrisWrites

Cass Morris is a Virginia native who completed her Master of Letters at Mary Baldwin College, where she wrote her thesis on Shakespeare’s evolution of the traditional narrative of male friendship. She earned her undergraduate degree, a BA in English with a minor in history, from the College of William and Mary in 2007, where she was accepted into the Alpha Delta Gamma honor society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Cass served on the boards of student theatrical production companies at both Mary Baldwin and William and Mary. At the ASC, Cass creates educational resources and publications such as the ASC Study Guides, leads workshops and seminars demonstrating performance-based learning techniques, and edits The Playhouse Insider, the ASC's in-house magazine. She has been published in Renaissance Magazine, and her essay "Technical and Material Matters" appears in Shakespeare Expressed. She has presented at the 2011 and 2013 Blackfriars Conferences and at the 2012 and 2014 Shakespeare Association of America Conferences. She writes genre fiction, represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary Agency. Her debut novel will be released through DAW Books in 2017.
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