January 26, 2015

ARTIST COLLABORATION: Mahamaya Sikdar

National Award winning Kantha Artist Mahamaya Sikdar

Mahamaya in front of the piece she submitted for the National Award.

 

We had the honor of meeting with the very talented kantha artist Mahamaya Sikdar while we were in Kolkata.  Mahaymaya is a President’s Award Winner & National Award Winner in her craft. She was in the middle of a move when we visited and graciously took the time to bring all of her kanthas to us so we could see her work. We got to see the incredible detail, hear about her process and discuss how she is helping pass her craft to younger generations. continue reading

January 25, 2015

Naamkaran: A Naming Ceremony

BABY

Every culture has different traditions surrounding the birth of a little one, each celebration being unique but with a central theme of love and happiness. In the Hindu religion, many Indians practice the ceremony of Naamkaran, in which a new baby is named. In Sanskrit, “naam” means name and “karan” means to create. Traditionally, Naamkaran is held anywhere from the eleventh to twelfth day after the baby is born and before the baby’s first birthday. Family members and friends gather to celebrate the baby and the women are central figures in the ceremony and they carry many of the main rituals. A baby’s name is very important and parents usually take many things into consideration before settling on a name. Some parents look at the day and time of the baby’s birth, or look to astrology, numerology, music and mythology.  The purpose of the ceremony is to celebrate the birth of the new baby and to welcome and bless it with a prosperous life. We named many of the pieces in our new collection after traditional Indian names. Learn more about the names of some of our baby and newborn pieces below!  continue reading

January 24, 2015

Breakfast: Indori Poha Recipe

On our travels to India, our team fell in love with a rich meal called Indori Poha, a traditional breakfast dish made out of poha (or flattened rice). It is super tasty and easy to make, and the best part about it is, you can garnish it with nearly anything. On our trip, we enjoyed it with spices and pomegranate seeds!

Indori 2

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January 23, 2015

Preschooler DIY: Embroider A Tea Design

DIY embroider lion

Embroider: to ornament with needlework or to form with needlework. 

Inspired by the embroidered details found throughout India, many of our graphics this season have a touch of embroidery on them. Our Kingfisher and Rohira Appliqué Graphic Tees for her and Hathi Graphic Tee for him are just a few of the embroidered designs you’ll find in our first delivery. Now we’re asking your little citizens to join in on the fun!  continue reading

January 22, 2015

Trip to a Ginger Farm

Ginger 2

Ginger (or adrak in Hindi) is grown on farms throughout India. On our trip, we came upon a ginger farm and stopped to take a look. The landscape was very vibrant and green – the leafy green stalks of the ginger are reed-like and can reach up to three feet tall. We saw the farmers harvesting ginger rhizomes (the underground root part of the plant) and piling them up. It was amazing how much was harvested!

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January 20, 2015

Passport to Angelique Kids

Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers. This month we caught up with Jennifer, co-founder of Angelique Baby + Kids. Learn about the brand and the hot spots of New Orleans below!

Angelique Kids

Have you always lived in New Orleans?
I was born in Birmingham, Alabama. I have been in my wonderful New Orleans since 1996. My business partner, Angelique Palumbo is New Orleans born and raised.

How was your business born?
We opened in 2006, post Katrina. We are looking forward to our 10 year birthday!

Tell us a little about your family history.
I brought some of my deep traditional Alabama ideas of children’s wear to New Orleans. Like my electric city of New Orleans, the store has evolved to a more sophisticated and worldly scope. continue reading

January 19, 2015

India by Color

Everyone knows India is a colorful place, but you don’t quite understand just how colorful until you are there. There is a beauty in the chaos of all these colors flowing around you. There are no neutrals. You don’t realize how plain and muted everyone dresses in your home country until you step foot in India. Men and boys wear pinks and purple without a second thought. Young and old proudly sport bright & bold colors that reflect the bright and joyous spirit of the people wearing them. Because everyone and everything in India is colorful we kept running into these special moments where a person wearing bright yellow would walk into a banana stand and suddenly camouflages into the background. Or when our photographer disappeared into a field of marigolds with his Ikat shirt he bought in Kolkota. We made collages of our trip pictures to try to share with you a little taste of these special moments.

Tea Collection India Trip By Color continue reading

January 12, 2015

A Gift from Gaonli Village

I’m not sure what I was expecting, really.

Perhaps small groups of girls quietly sewing or studying or shyly showing us their homemade handicrafts. Something simple. Something that would be easy to describe with a few well-chosen adjectives.

Instead, I found myself holding a bemused baby goat and thanking a smiling 14-year-old girl for her gift while trying to explain through a translator that there was no way I could get a goat through customs.

It was a Saturday in Jaipur and my Tea colleague Jessie and I were spending the day visiting villages with Gram Bharati Samiti, a non-profit funded by the Global Fund for Children. In Hindi, the name means “Society for Rural Development.”

Early that morning, we met the Gram Bharati Samiti founder, Bhawani, at his office (and home) near Amer Fort. A sixty-something man with sharp eyes and sparse hair, Bhawani welcomed us with a gentle greeting and masala chai. He introduced us to Kusum, a quiet woman in her fifties who has worked with Bhawani for 25 years. (Kusum has one of those smiles that makes you feel like everything is going to be ok.)

Bhawani explained that he and Kusum would take us to visit three of the 17 villages they’ve been working with—teaching them about safe drinking water, about healthcare and women’s rights and the power of education.

After an hour or more of jouncing down increasingly narrow roads, dodging cows, camels and overloaded motorbikes, our van pulled into the middle of Gaonli village and I sat and stared in open-mouthed astonishment.

There, in a dusty clearing between equally dusty mud dwellings, stood a huge tent teetering on bamboo poles. And beneath it, a rainbow of pink and yellow and purple saris.

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A crowd of villagers, mostly women and girls, all turned to stare as we awkwardly climbed out of the van and then, as Jessie and I pressed our palms together and murmured, “Namaste. Namaste,” they all began to smile and laugh and bob their heads in greeting. They had been waiting for us.

We were led to the front of the tent and seated on folding chairs facing everyone as Sarita, another GBS staff member, picked up a microphone and began to introduce us.

We found out later that the sound system was powered by a generator that had been trucked in on the back of a motorcycle. Gaonli has no electricity or running water. The people who live there walk nearly two miles each morning to pump their water from a well. (Yet later, at every door we passed, someone came out to greet us holding dripping glasses of water for our refreshment.)

Dressed in their best and visibly nervous, several teenage girls put on a Rajasthani dance demonstration, one after another after another gracefully bobbing and twirling in front of us, anklets jingling. continue reading

January 6, 2015

Prints & Patterns

india

We were thrilled to see bold print and pattern mixing everywhere we went in India. The brightly colored clothing (everything from saris to pavadas!) truly lit up the earth toned streets. Our newest prints give little citizens the freedom to mix and match as they please. continue reading