Monthly Archives: March 2011

March 17, 2011

A closely-related family of styles

You may have heard that we go on Inspiration Trips every season to a different country. In Barcelona, our creative juices were stoked by both the art and the energetic/laid-back vibe. It’s no surprise that some of the signature kids’ and women’s items from our current Destination Catalonia collection were often inspired by similar sources. Perhaps you’ve wondered to yourself (or out loud) if you could get women’s tops, dresses or sweaters with the same unique Tea sensibility we infuse into children’s clothing. In a way, you can. Below are some of our favorite pairings in that vein.

Picasso Stripes:


Pablo Striped Sweater & Pablo Sweater Tunic and Seaside Studio Stripe Cardi

Abstract Leaves:


Hojas Banded Dress & Hojas del Mar Tunic

Painterly Shapes:


Artista Wrap Dress and Abstract Artista Scarf

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In Celebration of Tiny Art Directors

If you’ve never seen the work of illustrator Bill Zeman and his daughter Rosie, you’re in for a treat. At the request of his daughter, Zeman illustrates scenes that she dictates and lets her judge the results. Some pieces are grudgingly approved, others adamantly denied, as Rosie does her best to pull “good art” out of her father.







Tiny Art Director started as a blog, and was published as a book in 2010. While humor is the main goal of this work, Zeman also raises an interesting point about encouraging children to view art critically. Recently Rosie the Tiny Art Director has learned the best way to express something is to do it herself. How do children express their imaginary worlds? What art do they like and not like – and more importantly, why?

March 11, 2011





Cristobal Balenciaga Eizaguirre started his first fashion boutique in San Sebastian, Spain in 1918, at the age of 33. Following great success after the Spanish Civil War, Balenciaga relocated to Paris, where his revolutionary designs became hot commodities, dressing royalty and celebrities. Despite his move to France he never lost his love of Spain, and many of his earlier items were heavily influenced by flamenco dresses and historical Spanish garb.


Balenciaga never gave an interview during his career, and so for many existed as a man of mystery. After his retirement in 1968 the house of Balenciaga stopped all production until 1986, when Jacques Bogart re-opened it with the goal to create a new ready-to-wear line. Bringing designers from all over the world, the Balenciaga name is at the forefront of modern innovative fashion.






If anyone is visiting San Francisco between now and July 4th 2011, be sure to check out the De Young Museum‘s exhibition Balenciaga and Spain. This retrospective examines the ways in which Spain as a nation influenced Balenciaga’s designs over the years.



Our Rambles on Las Ramblas

It’s been almost a year since our design team went on the Inspiration Trip to Catalonia, Spain. We spent much of our time in Barcelona taking in the food, architecture, art and people. Like many visitors, we found our way to Las Ramblas, which winds its way from Plaça de Catalunya (Barcelona’s unofficial city center) to Port Vell on the waterfront. It’s filled with trees and beautiful modernisme and Baroque architecture like Palau Moja and La Boqueria (Barcelona’s colorful food market). We wanted to share just a few photos from our trip:


Street View

The winding path of Las Ramblas reminds me a little of Lombard St. here in SF


Miro art in the plaza



Miro art in the plaza

Crazy Serpent Sculputure/Light fixture

Crazy serpent sculpture doubles as light fixture

Inspiration for our Modern Graphic Tee

Inspiration for our Modern Tee

Our head designer, Laura Boes is on her way back from her Inspiration Trip for Fall 2012 (if you can believe it). I’m hoping she’ll share a little bit more about her Las Ramblas rambles when she returns. And don’t forget to spring forward and turn your clocks ahead one hour. We’ll see you next week out and about enjoying the extra hour of daylight. Cheers!

Barcelona Quiz Answers



Torre Calatrava (Architect: Santiago Calatrava)

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (Architects: Eugenio Cendoya and Enric Catà)

Sagrada Família (Architect: Antoni Gaudí)


Torre de Collserola (Architect: Sir Norman Foster)


Monumento a Colón (Sculptor: Rafael Atché)


Hotel Arts (Architecture firm: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

Torre Mapfre (Architects: Iñigo Ortiz and Enrique de Leónl)

Tied for tallest buildings in Barcelona

Casa Milà (Architect: Antoni Gaudí)


Torre Agbar (Architect: Jean Nouvel)

March 4, 2011

Barcelona Architecture Quiz


How many famous buildings can you name from our Barcelona graphic?

Bonus points if you can name the architects.

The first participant to answer all of the buildings correctly will win a Barcelona graphic tee! Post your answer in the comment section to be eligible. The winner will be selected on Monday, so start guessing now!

Hint:  At least two are from well-known architect we’ve been talking about all week.

Check back Monday for the answers.

For a fun weekend activity, how many famous buildings can you name from our Barcelona graphic? Today on our blog, one of our designers wrote about this fun graphic tee and we’d love to see if you can name the buildings and/or architects featured.  The first participant to answer all of the buildings correctly will win a Barcelona Graphic tee! Please visit our blog [link here] and post your answer in the comment section to be eligible.  The winner will be selected on Monday, so start guessing now!

Gaudi’s Hanging Weights



Tea’s El Arquitecto Tee

How cool is this? Antoni Gaudí used an innovative method of hanging weights on strings to figure out the arches for his design of Sagrada Família. This ingenuity inspired our El Arquitecto Tee. Check out those arches.


We even got the writing from a real-life architect – Matt Hutchinson.  Who also happens to be married to our VP of design, Laura Boes. Check out the Gaudi-like chain sculpture we made during our photo shoot. It can be seen on page 17 of our Spring catalog. You can view it here in the catalog section of our website.

Gaudi Chain sculpture (Tea version)

March 3, 2011

Gaudi’s Sagrada Família Construction



(Tea’s Construction Graphic Tee)

Sagrada Família is a Roman Catholic church being built in Barcelona, Spain.  It was designed by famous Catalan Architect Antoni Gaudí.  It is a UNESCO world heritage site and when it’s finished being built it will be the tallest church in the world.

Sagrada Família has been under construction for over 120 years; many people from Catalonia don’t believe it will ever be finished.  It made me curious if it was the world’s longest construction project.  I did some research and  Sagrada Família didn’t make the list – probably because it’s not actually finished yet.  If it’s completed by its expected date of 2026, it would have taken 144 years to complete putting it in 7th place.  Originally it was expected to take much longer, up to 400 years, but with the advances in technology have greatly improved the construction process.

It always amazes me that they could build all these beautiful ridiculous buildings without our modern technology.

Here’s the top ten longest construction projects:

10. The Coliseum in Rome, Italy (10 years)

9. Parthenon in Athenia Acropolis, Greece (17 years)

8. The Great Pyrimid of Giza in Giza Necropolis, Egypt (20 years)

7. Sacayhuamán near Cusco, Peru (63 years)

6. York Minster Cathedral, York, England (252 years)

5. Chichen Itza in Yucatán, Mexico (400 years)

4. Angkor Wat in Angkor Cambodia (418 years)

3. Petra in Ma’an Governorate, Jordan (850 years)

2. Stonehendge in Wiltshire, England (1600 years)

1. The Great Wall of China on China’s norther boarder (2000 year)