A puzzling design of layered thread, temari balls have been a traditional Japanese craft for over one thousand years and are still popular today. When we traveled to Japan, we saw beautiful temari balls in markets and museums, further proving the point that this handicraft has indeed been around for many years, but lives on in modern day. Temari balls are created by making a core base and wrapping layers of yarn, thread, paper or fabric around it to create a round shaped ball. Each temari ball is different, but typical patterns you can find are geometric and symmetrical. A lot of designs will also include some element of nature, which is a popular focus in Japanese tradition and culture. Temari are traditionally given as a gifts, and symbolize friendship, loyalty and good luck. It’s traditional for a mother to make her daughter a ball as a New Year’s gift. We loved this tradition and after speaking with some moms in the office, we realized that this craft lives on in the U.S. too. One Tea mom makes something very similar to a temari ball, for gifts for her little citizen, called surprise balls. After doing some digging we found out it is really popular! Here we’re sharing an activity perfect for gifts for the holidays, inspired by the temari balls. If you want to learn and try your hand at making a traditional temari ball, head on over to TemariKai.com where you can find step-by-step instructions.
Saju wears our Chie Graphic Dress and Tenley wears our Tankuki Teapot Graphic Tee.
The Japanese city of Kanazawa is known for it’s production of gold leaf and use of it in many traditional and modern handicrafts. Artisans and craftsmen throughout Kanazawa have practiced gold leafing for hundreds of years. We saw many artifacts throughout museums and adorning ancient temples and buildings in this magical city. Gold leaf is also extremely popular in crafting and housewares today, throughout the world. You can even see a hint of gold on the logo of our holiday catalog front cover. When we traveled to Japan to shoot our holiday catalog, we took our new friends Tenley and Saju, to try their hand at gold leafing. Learn how you can do it too, right at home!
To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write a blog post to share their adventures with all of us (and the world)! Anna, Tea’s Technical Design Director, traveled through Poland with her husband, son, and daughter. Here she shares stories of a trip that will forever live in their hearts.
I love and miss Poland! This photo of Polish country meadow reminds me of Tea Collection.
Tea and cake are a perfect pairing for an afternoon snack in many countries. In Japan, kasutera is a popular sponge cake, derived from the Portuguese castela cake. Originally introduced to Japan by Portuguese sailors in the port town of Nagasaki, Kasutera is now a specialty of the city. Soft, spongy and sweet, kasutera cake can be flavored with almost anything… matcha green tea, peach, honey, even gold foil! During the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, it is common to serve sweet treats alongside matcha green tea. Here’s our recipe for a honey-flavored kasutera cake. What flavor will you make?
Kananzawa is a town in Japan known for its castles, shrines, amazing Museum of Contemporary Art and production of gold leaf. The glittering gold that surrounded us in Kanazawa, actually sparked inspiration for this year’s holiday collection. The city alone produces 99% of Japan’s gold leaf production thanks to its excellent quality of water and masterful craftsmen who have been practicing the art of gold leafing for hundreds of years. When we visited this magical place, we marveled at how many buildings, ceramics, and varieties of food were adorned with gold leafing.
Tea is a drink shared in nearly every culture around the world.Over a cup of tea, people can find a moment of connection and understanding. Tea is something we all have in common. (That’s why we made it our namesake.) Learn about the different teas enjoyed around the world, illustrated by Wednesday, one of our fabulous in-house artists!
Mitarashi dango is a delicious treat found in street vendors throughout Japan. Dango are balls of rice flour that take on a dumpling-like consistency when cooked. First they’re boiled and then placed on a skewer to be grilled. Once grilled, they’re covered with the sweet mitarashi sauce, which is made up of soy sauce and sugar. So simple, yet so delicious!
A woman makes Konnyaku dango, made from Konnyaku potatoes, on the street in Japan.