Category Archives: Behind the Design

November 23, 2010

The Kassai School of Horseback Archery

Today’s Guest Post is by Sandra Tyan from Tea:

I’ve been shooting since I was about 10 years old and was super excited when I saw that Katy was developing an archery graphic.  I can’t help but smile whenever I see archery references pop up (except in Lord of the Rings because Legolas’ form is so awful it makes me cringe every time I watch him shoot).  One of my friends from college always joked that I could learn how to ride a horse and be a horseback archer, but I always laughed it off.  Little did I know that horseback archery is an art form and competitive sport in Hungary!

The Kassai School of Horseback Archery, founded by Kassai Lajos about 25 years ago in Hungary, is the inspiration behind the Archery Tee.  Lajos also founded the Horseback Archers World Association and developed modern horseback archery competitions.  In a short amount of time, his teaching style has spread to various countries throughout Europe and North America.  Lajos has extensive training grounds in Hungary called “The Valley” in the village of Kaposmero where people from all over the world travel to attend his training camps, history lessons including bow making, and martial arts seminars.

There are different skill degrees that horseback archers can test into, much like martial arts, and different colored kaftans and belts represent the skill level.  For example, a blue kaftan and black belt means someone is a beginner that has demonstrated competency in both shooting and riding.  Here are some horseback archers of varying skill degrees:

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Competitions are about shooting as quickly and accurately as possible within a certain amount of time.  Each archer gets 9 passes or gallops along the 99m course.  The archer receives points for hitting the different rings on the target, and also for how quickly he/she can ride through the course.  Rides are timed; each person has 20 seconds to complete the course.  After all passes, the person with the highest point total wins.

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In modern target archery competitions, archers shoot at different distances depending on their age/gender.   The official Olympic distance is 70m for both men and women.  While each end is timed, the archer has a set number of arrows to shoot so there’s no pressure to shoot as many arrows as possible.  I have a lot of respect for horseback archers.  It’s hard enough to shoot a target while standing still, I can’t imagine the amount of skill required to shoot a target from a moving horse while the distance to the target constantly changes, and especially without an aiming device!


Check out the results of our inspiration from the Kassai School of Horseback Archery:

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November 18, 2010

The Lion on Széchenyi Chain Bridge

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The Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest spans the Danube river, connecting the Western and Eastern  parts of the city. Opened in 1849, the bridge is named after Count István Széchenyi, who financially and politically supported its construction. Made of beautifully intricate wrought iron, the bridge was greatly damaged during the Siege of Budapest during World War II , and was partly rebuilt.

While exploring Budapest our designers came across a magnificent lion gracing the abutments at the end of the bridge.

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He is a smaller stone replica of the famous bronze Trafalgar lions, guarding Nelson’s Column in London. and was installed on the bridge in 1852. Inspired by his noble features, our designers created this stylish shirt:

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Know any little lions in your life? You can find this shirt here.

 

November 8, 2010

The Maramures

Maramures is an old county in Northwestern Romania. Largely rural and agricultural, Maramures has held onto traditional farming and lifestyle methods, choosing to use manual labor to plow their fields and harvest their crops. Fine detailed handiwork is valued – and results in stunning embroidered fabrics, beadwork, carpet weaving and wood carvings. The cultural traditions of the Maramures region date back to before the Renaissance era, and have been carefully nurtured and preserved, and handed down through generations.

This season our designers were greatly influenced by a common item of traditional dress worn by Maramurian women and girls – a traditional red and black striped dress or skirt.

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Honored as traditional garb for girls and women of all ages, you will still find variations on this style and pattern across the region.

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This season our designers took a modern approach to this inspiration, and created our Maramures Dress:

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With its bold black and red stripes, and its ability to be layered with warm leggings and cozy mocknecks, this dress is perfect for the winter and holiday season.

 

November 3, 2010

A Horse is a Horse (Unless It’s a Rooster)

One of the most exciting parts of my job is when Laura and her traveling buddies come back from an inspiration trip.   She brings us all kinds of goodies to enjoy – photographs, books, fabrics, toys.   It’s so inspiring getting our first glimpse of a new culture and imagining what designs we’ll create after seeing them.

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After Laura’s inspiration trip for “Old World Hungary” I was admiring these stuffed, applique and embroidered ornaments.   I shared my excitement with the design team by saying, “These are so cute!  I really love that awesome horse head one.”

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Instead of the shared enthusiasm I would have expected from my teammates, I got blank stares.   When I went over and picked up the ‘horse head’ ornament to show it to them, they broke out in laughter, and explained that my ‘horse head’ was actually a rooster and that I was holding it upside down.

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To prove to the rest of my team that I wasn’t a complete fool, I designed this adorable “Paisley Pony” graphic inspired by… a rooster.

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Here’s a detail shot.  You can see it, right?

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October 30, 2010

Owls Owls Everywhere

Owl was my first word.  Or at least that’s what my parents tell me.  I am sure I was just making ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ noises and someone thought it sounded like ‘owl’.   Either way, I’ve received many owl presents throughout the years. So it was very exciting when owls started showing up in the fashion, home and craft scenes a few years back.  I thought it was a trend that would die out, but instead it seems to be stronger than ever.   An Etsy search for owl gives you over 30,000 results.  There is even an entire blog – a pretty amazing blog, actually – dedicated to owl design and art:  My Owl Barn.

I was little worried about creating a owl graphic for Old World Hungary.  It seemed relevant because it showed up in the craft of all three countries we visited, it was even on the Romanian postage stamp.  But how would I compete with all the amazing owl designs that were already out there?  Many other clothing lines already had owl graphic tees.  How could I make one that was more special?

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top row:  Marc by Marc, Misha Lulu, POL Clothing

2nd row: , Kate Garey, Alice Melvin, Soft Gallery

3rd row:  Delias, Lucky Wang, Babylon Baby

After our inspiration trip to the library, I had a photocopy of this one embroidery that I loved.  Every which way I looked at it I kept seeing an owl in it.  Not a entire owl, just an owl wing or eye, and all I could think was what a cute owl graphic it would make.   Since it came to me instead of me creating it – I figured it was a sign that I had to go ahead and make the owl graphic.   I hope you like it!

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For the final graphic I put him in a little tree that was inspired by traditional wood carving of the region.

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October 26, 2010

Outside the Lines: Halloween Special

Here are some special Halloween coloring book pages for this week.

Creepy Dragon

Haunting Owl

Spooky Raven

Scary Wolf
And remember don’t BE AFRAID to color outside the lines!