Hatsuki’s original painting and Tea’s beautiful Hatsuki Graphic tee
I was so happy to meet Hatsuki Miyahara when we visited Kyoto. She was kind enough to train over from Osaka just to meet up with us. She was such a sweetheart and even with the language barrier we connected immediately. Her paintings are beautiful and elegant with cheerful layered colors. Her paintings are uniquely her own, immediately recognizable because no one else paints like she does. Yet, they still feel quintessentially Japanese.
To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write a blog post to share their adventures with all of us (and the world)! Katy, Tea’s t-shirt graphic designer, traveled through Uganda and Rwanda on a quest to see every primate. Here she shares her jungle adventures.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, The National Museum of Women in the Arts is running a campaign to spread awareness of women artists. Only five percent of art hanging in museums are by women!! So, they’ve started a campaign to challenge people to name five women artists. We’re always up for a challenge!
We were very luck to find Gouthami for our trip to India. Before she started her own travel company – Travel Another India – she spent 20 years working in social development and had made many great connections with craft people all over India. Gouthami introduced us to so many artisans and we had the pleasure of meeting many President Award winning craft people in remote villages. Here, she shares her knowledge on crafts in India with our readers!
Craft is the second largest employer in rural India after agriculture. In most villages you will find some form of craft – the potter, the weaver, the basket maker. It is still a way of life rather than an art to be practiced for its own sake.
In this picture you see just that. I visited the village of Nuapatna in the state of Odisha in Eastern India with the Tea Collection team.
Nuapatna is famous for its intricate Ikat weaving. In the background you can see the spindles of yarn casually stuck into the pile of sand, while the woman in the picture is wearing a hand-woven ikat sari as she goes about her daily chores.
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.
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.
When I first started designing for merchandise, I realized how many products had cute animal designs but weren’t doing anything to spread awareness or give back. Around the same time, I was working with a handful of non-profits who wanted to raise funds by selling products, but they didn’t have the funds or knowledge to design them. (Usually they would just sell a t-shirt with their logo on it, which would only appeal to the audience they already had.) I wanted to bridge that gap by designing product that would appeal to popular markets, but would spread awareness and raise funds for these causes, too. So for the holidays I created four greeting cards for some of my favorite wildlife organizations.