Category: Behind the Design

Behind the Design: Monkeys!

Monkey 5Monkeys are everywhere in India! But beware, not all are as cute and friendly as they may seem. Some monkeys have been known to swipe your jacket or hat when you aren’t looking. These mischievous monkeys were the perfect inspiration for our playful graphics on our boys and little girls tees. See the story behind the inspiration…

Tea Swim Styles Inspired by Goa Beaches


Image of Agonda Beach courtesy of

Goa is a coastal gem found in west India bordering the Arabian Sea. As the smallest state in India, over 80% of Goa is compromised of beaches with swaying palm trees, deep blue water and sandy beaches. Both locals and tourists make the trip to discover the beaches many different attractions. Check out our newest swim styles inspired by these beautiful beaches!

Paisley Palace

Modern India takes great care and pride to retain the extraordinary refinement of its many palaces, old temples and ancient forts. We’ve fondly named our newest delivery, Paisley Palace. From the stunning marble dome of the Taj Mahal to the ornate arches of the Mysore Palace to the spectacular paintings that adorn the Amer Fort, there is no lack of inspiration in the architecture in India. Many of our designs in this collection are named after these great palaces! Take a look at the history of these great sites to better understand the story behind the design.


The Amer Fort was built by the conqueror Raja Man Singh who ruled from 1590-1614 AD. On our visit here, we rode painted elephants and admired the red curtains that framed the fort. We were inspired by the elaborate painted motifs on the walls and ceilings in the Jaipur City Palace.

Honk! Honk! Lorry Truck

honk honk lorry truck

In India, trucks are called lorries and they can be found zooming along streets and highways. Driving in India is a bit hectic… the streets are a symphony of constant horn blowing and busy cars. The lorries are painted in all kinds of crazy colors. The idea is that if you’re loud and bright, everyone will see and hear you coming and get out of your way! We found it all to be beautifully chaotic.

Ralli Quilts to Ralli Bikes


Literally translated ralli means to mix or connect… and that’s exactly what ralli quilts do in many different ways. Made from scraps of fabric (usually cotton), ralli’s are an expression of the makers behind them. You’ll find these quilts in three basic styles: 1) patchwork made from pieces of torn cloth squares and triangle stitched together 2) appliqué made from intricate cute out patterns 3) embroidered quilts where the stitches form patterns on solid colored fabrics. No matter the style, you’ll always notice the bold diagonal placements of blocks and embellishments.

Kabini Forest Reserve Safari Trip

kabini-2Animals play an important role in our designs at Tea Collection. When we traveled to India, we were fortunate to go on a river safari through the Kabini Forest Reserve in Nagarahole National Park in Karnataka, located in southwest India. Karantaka has long been a favored destination, dating back to the 1800’s when viceroys, rulers and members of the British East India company would come to hunt. Today, the animals are fiercely protected and the reserve operates as an eco-tourism resort and wildlife preserve. The guides hope to inspire the guests and help them understand their role in preserving the gifts of nature. It was an amazing way to see the landscape, interact with the safari guides and get an up close look at all the wonderful animals indigenous to India!

kabini 1The Kabini Forest Reserve has a lush green landscape that surrounds a large river. Many people flock from all over to have a chance to see an elephant or at times, a tiger! We rode in a jeep through the forest to try and spot monkeys, birds and deer.


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.

Naamkaran: A Naming Ceremony


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!