Katy designs graphics and textiles for Tea and is a self-proclaimed wildlife conservationist. She loves discovering beautiful things and finding inspiration in unexpected places. When she is not working on one of her too many creative projects she enjoys rollerblading to musicals, pretending she can surf and watching Disney movies. Katy has traveled around the globe to work with creatures that have lost their homes to rainforest destruction. Her most memorable trip was to Malaysian Borneo working with orphaned orangutans, next up is sloths in Costa Rica, and hopefully one day Mountain Gorillas in Uganda.
The Feathered Serpent is a dragon-like deity important to many mesoamerican cultures. In Aztec culture he is known as Quetzalcoatl. Like many dragons in Asian cultures, the feathered serpent has a snake-like body, however it is not covered in scales like most other cultures’ dragons. The feather serpent is covered with feathers, which gives it the ability to fly, even though it does not have wings. [fun fact: the Korean Dragon can also fly and does not have wings] The feathered serpent appeared in many of Diego Rivera’s works (pictured above). Do you recognize the frog in Diego’s mosaic?
Many alebrijes take form as dragons or dragon-like creatures. I suspect since alebrijes are a modern Mexican craft, crafters were exposed to influences from many different cultures. A dragon is a logical choice for an alebrije since they are usually fantasical creatures.
Deep purples, rich blues and pops of bright pink may not scream holiday to everyone, but we loved this festive color palette proudly worn by the people in the village of Chamula. These are the colors of the traditional dress in this region of Chiapas. We were so inspired by the color, we couldn’t even wait till we got home to sport this beautiful palette. One generous women we met even let us try the clothes on that she was wearing. I hope you enjoy wearing them as much as we do.
While we decided to go with a less traditional color palette for our holiday collection this year, Mexico was still filled with red & green inspiration that we wanted to share with you. Come back tomorrow for the inspiration behind our Highland Holiday color palette.
Did you know the poinsettia is indigenous to Mexico, where they call it “Noche Buena,” meaning Christmas Eve? The association of the poinsettia with Christmas began in Mexico. Can you see the poinsettia influence in some of the Mexican floral motifs?
1st row: early Tea design, traditional Chinese paper cut tiger
2nd row: Tea’s design, Japan Fall 2009, “Tiger Mask” Japanese anime character
3rd row: Tea’s design, Korea Spring 2010, Korean tiger stamp
4th row: Tea’s design, Old World Hungary Fall 2010, lion from Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest
5th row: Tea’s Design, Barcelona Spring 2011, Barcelona street art
6th row: Tea’s design, Modern Mexico Fall 2011, Mexican jaguar
I can’t believe that I am designing my 8th season at Tea! Time flies when you’re having fun! The more seasons I design, the more connections I see through the different cultures we’ve visited for inspiration. One obvious connection is the importance of tigers. Some cultures may not specifically celebrate tigers, but every country we have visited has some large cat that is important to their identity. I find it so interesting to see the differences and similarities in the ways foreign civilizations celebrate the same subjects.
Be sure to check out our tiger pinboard on pinterest, showing tigers interpreted by artists from all over the world.
The Tiger Masks (“Tiger” is often used to describe Jaguars in Mexico) are from Guerrero and worn by farmers who perform rain dances prior to their growing seasons. These masks inspired our Uno Dos Tres Romper.
Behind the Design Wednesdays: Every week Tea writes about our designers’ inspiration for our current collection of clothing. Explore all of our Behind the Design posts.
We visited Árbol del Tule on our Mexico inspiration trip. This tree is so impressive you can’t capture it in just one photo, hence the photo collage. The trunk has a 38 foot diameter! That is larger than California’s famous giant sequoias.
Árbol del Tule is often referred to as the “tree of life,” because of all the many ‘creatures’ you can find hiding in its gnarled trunk. We decided to hide some of own creatures and objects in our Arbol Del Tule activity pages, can you find them all?
download full resolution activity pages here below:
While traveling through Mexico we saw a variety of interpretations of the Tree of Life theme, which inspired some of our designs for this season.
The woven rugs pictured above feature the Zapotec Tree of Life and inspired our Árbol de la Vida Tee.
The top right image is a ceramic tile, a modern interpretation of the Tree of Life that inspired our Little Citizen PJs. We hid quite a few creatures in our tree design. How many can you find? Check back tomorrow for our “Tree of Life” activity page you can download and enjoy with your kids.
The remaining images are a style of Mexican clay sculpture known as Tree of Life. These traditionally have biblical themes (middle right image), but modern interpretations can be pretty much anything, like the day of the dead tree on the bottom.