Category Archives: Behind the Design

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 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

December 31, 2014

The Art of Kantha Embroidery

kantha quilt

Kantha is a type of Bengali embroidered quilt. The kantha quilts of Bengal are created from fragments of old family garments layered on top of each other. Each kantha tells a story through technique, design and patterns. Women’s voices are heard through the mends, patches and stitches in this living tradition.  continue reading

December 18, 2014

Shibori Dye Technique DIY

We love learning different ways of designing textiles. We feel deeply connected to the ancient Japanese dye technique called Shibori. Shibori comes from the Japanese verb root shiboru, “to wring, squeeze, press.” Dyeing cloth with a Shibori technique requires folding, crumpling, stitching and twisting the cloth to create the design pattern you hope to achieve. What we all love about the Shibori technique (besides the lovely Tea favorite indigo hue!) is the mystery around the process – you never know what type of design you have made until it is done.  Learn how to make your own shibori dyed fabrics below!Indigo 4

What You’ll Need:
– An indigo dyeing kit like this one or indigo dye, wood blocks, rubber bands and rubber gloves
– T-shirts, cloth napkins, towels or any other fabric you wish to dye. Cotton responds best to dye.
– Two large containers, one for the dye, one for water.
– Newspaper or plastic to protect the surfaces around you continue reading

December 5, 2014

Introducing Citizen Blue

tea collection citizen blue

We’re excited to announce our first collection of Citizen Blue – a semi-annual collection that celebrates the magical spots we stop along the way to somewhere else. Rooted in rich indigo hues, Citizen Blue revisits heritage Tea styles and favorite prints from places we’ve already been and offers new designs inspired by places we’ve seen only glimpses of.

Citizen Blue is a voyager, a nomad. Not quite here or there, the collection draws inspiration from the journey and all of the magical spots we stop along the way to our final destination. It is truly global inspired, as pieces within a single collection range from Japan to Mexico.

Here, we share with you a look behind a few of this season’s designs…  continue reading

November 4, 2014

Inspiration Behind Our Holiday Catalog

H

Since our holiday collection is our most dressy, we wanted to balance out the elegance with a healthy dose of fun. After all, the holidays are a time of laughter and parties and glitz—so we styled our holiday Tea models to match.

We imagined a chic holiday party in Berlin with a mix of opulent elegance and punk irreverence. We paired gorgeous gilded dresses with black tights, twirly embroidered skirts with skater-style high tops and festooned cozy sweaters with sparkly skull brooches.

David Bowie and Iggy Pop in Berlin 1977  // Courtesy of shapersofthe80s.com

David Bowie and Iggy Pop in Berlin 1977 // Courtesy of shapersofthe80s.com

While in Berlin, we were inspired by very the pop-punk scene of the late 70’s and 80’s. The music of Berlin in this era inspired everything from hairstyles to culture and it traveled all around the world. Let your little ones be inspired, play music and put on a show at your holiday party!

Inspiration pictures used for the Holiday catalog photo shoot

Images pulled for inspiration for the Tea Collection Holiday catalog photo shoot.

For hairstyles, we took a look at West Berlin’s punk style and Neue Deutsche Welle (New German Wave) in the 70’s and re-imagined those audacious mohawks in fun bouffant styles with braids and retro finger waves.

It’s lighthearted style that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Time to dress up, turn up the music and dance!

September 29, 2014

Collaboration with Blink Blink

Anna Niestroj - blink blink

“My way of working represents an artistic creative process: irrational, intuitive, inquiring and interwoven. As a designer, however, I reserve the right to always keep the goal in mind and seek for solutions to existing problems. I test, scour, question and reject methods and in the best case new is discovered this way – always challenging the innovation in consideration of the real customers needs.”

Anna Niestroj founded BLINKBLINK in 2012 as an open interactive design studio.

blink blink fabric dressBlink-Blink-Tea-Collection-Dress

We collaborated with the talented pattern designer Anna Neistroj for our Germany Collection. Here is a little interview with our favorite guest artist.

Where do you live now?  In Berlin!

Favorite destination in Germany?  Berlin… and surroundings. And any old town in the country.

Favorite destination worldwide?  Seasides, Riversides, Lakesides! I wouldn’t prefer a specific place.

Did you always want to be an artist? As a child what career did you want?  As a 5 year old: violinist. Soon I wanted to be an entrepreneur: doing things and selling it to people. As my father was an artist I considered myself even so ;)

Favorite Color?  Turquoise

Where do you get your inspiration?  From materials, printed matter, the internet, travels and the city I live in (+ people that live here.).

We were thrilled to discover your work while we were researching for our Germany collection. Your collages feel like a contemporary evolution of the Bauhaus artists. Is Bauhaus a strong influence on your work?  It makes me happy to read this! I actually didn’t think of bauhaus while I created the collages but I think it still came to me via ‘zeitgeist’ ;)Blink-Blink-Gunta-Stolzl-1

left: artwork by Bauhaus artist Gunta Stölzl, right: artwork by Anna Niestroj / Blink Blink

Blink-Blink-Kandinksy

left: artwork by Bauhaus artist Wassily Kandinsky, right: artwork by Anna Niestroj / Blink Blink

Who are some of your favorite contemporary German artists?  David Schnell, Katharina Grosse, …David-Schnell--Katharina-Grosse

left: artwork by David Schnell, right: artwork by Katharina Grosse

Will you send us a picture of your studio and tell us a little about your typical work day?  There is no typical work day, except for being in the studio a lot (experimenting, printing, etc.), using the computer a lot (designing, communications, etc.) and welcoming all sorts of people. I have a fiew clients that I work for repeatingly. But the most jobs I do are on project-base and singular.

anna neistroj blink blink studio workspace

some shots of Anna Niestroj / Blink Blink’s inspiring workspace

Emily Meyer visiting Blink Blink's Berlin Studio

Emily and Anna in Anna’s Studio/ Anna standing in the doorway to her studio space.

Do you have a cause or charity that is important to you?  I think that the place I choose for my studio is a special form of charity. I’m ‘donating’ some color and joy to a pretty rough area / neighborhood. Also I think that ‘Think global, act local.’ is a good leitmotif.

Tea will be making a donation in honor of Anna to himmelbeet, an intercultural community garden in Berlin that focus on organic farming. Here people of all ages come together to garden, build with recycled materials, cook and participate in environmental education workshops.

September 8, 2014

Inspired by Kirchner

Tea Collection inspired by Marzella Painting

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner was a German expressionist painter & printmaker from Bavaria. Kirchner was one of the founding members of the group ‘Die Brücke’ and we were lucky enough to see several of his pieces in person during our visit to the Brücke-Museum in Berlin.

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