Tea & Me was a unique collection project of State Library of Queensland that sought to capture Queensland's special tea-related memories.
The project was initially developed around the unique physical space of Queensland Terrace — the purpose was to animate the space in memorable and engaging way with a teacup collection that changed and evolved over time.
Plans to display teacups on the Queensland Terrace began in 2007, six months after the redeveloped State Library of Queensland building opened to the public.
Didactic text from 2008:
The Queensland Terrace is a room of delightful surprise, adopting the miscreant logic of being both outdoors and a precious cabinet for treasures and memories. It is a space of grand civic scale yet incredible delicacy and intimacy. It houses a fragile domestic cargo of china teacups that evokes memories of places, people and occasions throughout the state. The collection speaks of the humble collective ritual of tea-taking while simultaneously being reflected, multiplied, fractured and glorified in kaleidoscopic patterns over the glamorously mirrored ceiling. A truly civic room, the Queensland Terrace fuses dignity and gravitas with the familiar and everyday.
A number of teacup project iterations have been considered since then.
The Great Walls of China installation on the Queensland Terrace was a collaboration with Shanghai Library and established as a backdrop, a mass of willow patterned tea sets on display in the wall cabinets for Shanghai Week activities in June 2009.
Tea & Me was launched on 24 May 2011 with a morning tea on State Library’s Queensland Terrace. The project was funded by an anonymous donation through the Queensland Library Foundation and partnered with Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea in the collection of teacups and stories for the project.