Nuala Sawyer works in Social Marketing at Tea. She enjoys bicycling, cooking with New Mexican green chiles, animals, and running through Golden Gate Park. She grew up mostly in New Mexico and Colorado, but has also lived in Belgium, England, Wales, Greece, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and now San Francisco. She has a degree in photography from Hampshire College. A few life goals include visiting the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, biking from San Francisco to Los Angeles, owning a dog, and perfecting the art of soufflé.
María de los Dolores Olmedo y Patiño Suarez was a well-known Mexican businesswoman. She studied law in the early years of the 20th century, and went on to own property and factories all over Mexico. Olmedo was also a philanthropist to the arts, and was good friends with both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Diego painted several portraits of her, the most famous of which was painted in 1955 after Frida’s death:
We love her traditional embroidered top and the classic Frida-style flowers in her hair!
Her biggest life achievement was the creation of the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City, which holds her massive art collection. Our designers visited the museum and loved the xoloitzcuintle dogs and peacocks that run wild in the gardens! To date the museum holds 145 paintings by Diego Rivera, and 25 by Frida Kahlo, as well as 6,000 pre-Hispanic figurines.
Dolores Olmedo died at the age of 93 in 2002, but her legacy of art appreciation continues. In her words “Following the example of my mother, a teacher, Prof. María Patiño Suárez widow of Olmedo, I live as she taught me: ‘share all you have with those around you’. I therefore will this house with all my collections of art, product of a lifetime’s endeavor, for the pleasure and enjoyment of the People of Mexico.” It’s worth a visit if you find yourself in Mexico City.
One of the qualities we strive to incorporate into our clothes at Tea is the ability to play. Particularly in the Back to School season, clothes need to be stylish enough for kids to want to wear, comfortable enough to encourage play, and sturdy enough to handle tree-climbing.
Our friend Candace at Mamanista composed a fantastic post truly highlighting the outfitting capabilities of our Fall 2011 collection! Discover the outfits she created and enter a great giveaway featuring Tea Collection gift certificates! Outfitted:Back to School on Mamanista
Have you ever heard of Mexican hairless dogs? The xoloitzcuintle (pronounced shoh-loyts-kwint-lee) is native to Mexico, with roots tracing back over 3,000 years, and are believed to be the first domesticated dog of the Americas.
Their hairlessness has many theories, the most popular being that it was a survival tactic in the hot tropical regions of Mexico. The Aztecs in particular were very fond of these dogs, with the belief that they were necessary to guide their owners through the underworld upon death. Xolos exude an exceptional amount of body heat and were valued during cold months as additional heat sources at night. Perhaps due to this, they also gained a reputation as being healers, and are still kept around today as superstition for fighting away sickness. Xoloitzcuintles are also appreciated for their guard-dog abilities and unwillingness to back down in a fight. They bond strongly to their owners and are a notoriously intelligent breed.
Our designers saw quite a few xoloitzcuintles on their inspiration trip to Mexico. The dogs above live in the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico city, in honor of the philanthropist’s love of the breed.
Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are among the most well-known fans of the xoloitzcuintle dog. Frida with two of her pets (above left), and in her self portrait with her xoloitzcuintle (above right).
What do you think of xoloitzuintles? Do you find them elegant and beautiful? Or strange and ugly? They unfortunately didn’t make the cut for any of our Tea graphics this year, but we’re still fascinated by them!
Every Monday at Studio T we showcase fashion and art projects we find inspiring. Have a look at our previous Random Acts of Inspiration here.
“Of Another Fashion” is one of my regular weekly reads these days. Created by Minh-Ha T. Pham, it’s a collection of women of color sporting fashionable outfits, from the 1920s through 1980s. In Pham’s words it is “an alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color”.
Outfitting Back to School continues! Our Mexico-inspired line of clothing is all about mixing and matching, layering and accessorizing. Amy at Mom Spark shows ways to mix and match some of our boy’s clothing on her blog:
Have you heard of the Disposable Memory Project? A group of people have released 346 disposable cameras in 71 different countries for people to pass along to one another. The hope is that they will eventually be returned home with photos from all over the world. So far 99 have been found! The process of transferring cameras from person to person is really fun, and the project logs every step that they can:
Camera 146: Left in the silkscreening lab at Otis College in Los Angeles by David T.
When cameras are returned they usually have a whole range of photos taken by different people, often in different countries. Camera 159 went on a long journey – from Wales to Greenland to Antarctica to Chile, and finally ended up in Ireland before being mailed back to the Disposable Memory Project to be processed:
Camera 308‘s journey was much shorter – it was passed to a man selling juice on a beach in Gambia, and passed around the village before it was returned:
Interested in participating? Learn the steps of starting your own disposable memory camera here. We’re so inspired by this project that we’re considering sending disposable cameras with our designers on their next inspiration trip!