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FAUXGERTY FIVE with Norleen Nosri

Even after artist Norleen Nosri puts the finishing touch on her ceramic tea sets, she’s really just getting started. After all, tea is meant to be shared, and Nosri’s delicate white cups held on a brown earthenware base invite tea drinkers to make time in their busy personal lives for a small social ritual.

Nosri, who came to the United States from Malaysia in 1997 to study art, gave her ceramic art new life when she invited high school students in St. Louis, Missouri, to write wishes and hopes for the future on thousands of two-inch tea cups. Together, the students toasted to their positive messages—including “Encourage youth,” and “Love your life”—in a tea ceremony Nosri called CommuniTea. In 2015, President Barack Obama praised Nosri and her students for bringing meaningful change to the community. “The compassion and generosity you showed in your social action project, along with the skills you are gaining in school, will help your generation build a brighter tomorrow,” the president said in a letter.

We asked Nosri five questions about life and art. Here’s how she answered.

Who gave you the best advice you ever received? Abah, my dad. He said, Don't give up!

What do you worry about? A burst tire on a busy highway.

What are you working on? Making art out of clay.

What drives your art? The material, self and people around me.

At Fauxgerty, we live by our value system. What’s yours? Give truth a chance.

Find out more about CommuniTea on Facebook, and see more of Nosri’s work on her website.