Introducing the Botanical Homewares of Bee & Tea

Bee & Tea create beautiful botanical homewares; Mugs, tea towels, aprons and more, brought to life with detailed and accurate reproductions of flowers, plants and vegetables.

Created by artist Bridget Chetwynd the homewares range offer clean, elegant designs that bring touches of nature into the home; making excellent gifts for nature-loving ladies.

To get a closer look at this indie gift company, we spoke to company founder Bridget Chetwynd, who gave us a sneak peek behind the scenes of the company, the products and the design process.

 

The Company

What inspired you to start Bee & Tea?

My sister and business partner Tash the “Tea” in Bee & Tea suggested we start a homeware business to bring my botanical watercolours into more homes. We started in 2010.

 

Bee and Tea canvas bag

Bee and Tea Canvas Bag with Botanical Print

 

What can you tell us about your Botanical Homeware business?

The designs all stem from my original paintings from life and I have the designs handmade in the UK to high quality standards by small English manufacturers. So the designs are aesthetic, bold and original.

What’s your role in the business?

My role in the business covers every aspect from painting and designing, overseeing the prototypes, running the website, marketing etc. My favourite part of my job is the creative process and being able to bring the aesthetic designs into production just the way I visualise them without compromise.

Are there other people in your business? 

Just my sister Tash who helps with sourcing high quality manufacturers, organising production and helping with strategic decisions as to where to approach, where to sell etc.

What can you tell us about your studio workspace?

I designed from scratch my purpose built studio extension in Dalston. My studio has two south facing large sash windows and a large roof light so I get fantastic soft consistent north light sunlight which illuminates the flowers or whatever objects I am painting. I have a simple butler sink on a wooden frame to rinse out brushes, my drawing board, desk and easel and wooden floorboards – easy to clean if they get splattered with paint. It is also better to have my Apple Mac computer and wifi in my studio space so I can answer emails, or modify my designs in Photoshop all from the same place.

 

The Products

Which of the Bee & Tea collection are the current bestsellers?

The set of four tea towels, which make a great wedding gift or gift for your auntie / mum.

Bee-&-Tea-Tea-Towel-Collection

Tea Towel Collection

 

Pansy Tea Towel

Pansy Tea Towel

 

And the delphinium prints which can be posted and framed with standard A2 or A3 frames.

 

Delphinium Art Print

 

Why do you think they’re so popular?

The set of four tea towels because they are beautiful, practical and vibrant. The prints because customers can chose any of the painting images and have a high quality Giclée print sent by post to frame.

What are your personal favourite products in your current collection?

My personal favourite are my the organic linen lavender bags which keep the moths away, ideal present for the person who has everything and smell divine. They have a variety of designs from flower fairies, to pansies and nursery rhymes.

What can card and gift senders expect from Bee & Tea in the coming months?

I do produce greeting cards and I will be doing floral, and Christmas images this year. Also new Lavender bag designs and more laundry bags and cushions.

 

Design & Manufacturing

Your Botanical Homewares feature incredibly intricate artwork. What can you tell us about the design process?

I love detail, and observing the quality of light and how it transforms colour through transparent petals and leaves. Painting in natural daylight from life I try to produce pure representations of what I see and experience as the aesthetic simple beauty of flowers inspires me. I want to communicate this to others through my designs. I came up with the checked borders round the homeware from an antique cup and saucer I saw daily when working as a design assistant for Peter and Pat Rice, (Mathew Rice’s parents, married to Emma Bridgewater). The bumblebees and teapots worked into the checked borders represent me (Bee – Bridget) and my sister Natasha (Tash) Tea. Perhaps having trained in theatre design and made scale models 1:25 I have a love of intricate pattern & detail often demonstrated in antiques and want to reinvent this in a modern classic way.

You currently specialise in homeware gifts. What inspires you about this area of design?

The starting focal point for all my designs are my paintings, these inspire the homeware gifts, which Bee & Tea have created. I have organic lavender bags, piped cushions, greeting cards and prints in the range.

Ultimately I would like to open a wonderful tea shop selling Bee & Tea homeware where customers could stop, replenish and recharge while shopping. I feel I have been very lucky and that it is important to give back to others in the community so I organise a Bee& Tea Annual Charity Tea in aid of the Refugee Women’s Association – this would continue to expand as part of this plan.

We believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree?

I do agree, I design all the products so know they are original based on my watercolour paintings and designs. High quality is achieved through thorough checking and quality control. The beauty of a small business is you can check the quality of your goods before despatch. Source high quality British manufacturers and not sell the products until you have checked them and are 100% happy with the quality. For me this means the goods need to be fit for purpose and practical, so tea towels and laundry bags must be machine washable, mugs able to go in the dishwasher etc.

Your collection also shows great attention to detail and quality. What can you tell us about the craftsmanship of the range?

The painting from life takes concentration and focus as well as patience, I then use the craftsmanship of skilled British manufacturers such as a family firm of three brothers in Stoke on Trent to translate the designs onto the fine bone mugs using traditional screen-printing processes. The homeware textiles are traditionally hand screen-printed in Lincolnshire using sustainable inks.

 

Shopping Indie

We love independents and think more people should be supporting them. Why do you think people should shop with independent businesses like yours?

At a time where modern life is dominated by Advertising and the same chain stores throughout the world and the high street I think people appreciate independent businesses, selling handmade with love goods with something more one off, personal and identifiably unique, they can buy a more personal gift for others or treat themselves!

Bee and Tea Cotton Apron

Bee and Tea Cotton Apron & Gift Mug

People should shop with Bee & Tea as they will receive a personal service, free gift wrapping if requested and receive high quality, great taste, aesthetically pleasing, long lasting, practical gifts that will enhance the home. Quality original gifts at an affordable price. What makes Bee & Tea stand out is the original colourful lively chic detailed designs and colour palette.

 

Find Out More

To find out more about Bridget’s work and see the full collection please visit the Bee & Tea website.