A few weeks ago, we connected with American film photographer, Elise Hanna, who lives in Chennai, India with her family. We were immediately entranced by her beautiful photography and mouth watering recipes. Reading her blog makes you feel as if you are right there with her experiencing the smells and tastes of the food she writes about and photographs. Here she shares with us the story on vada, South India’s answer to a savory donut.
Saying the words, Ghee Happy, makes us happy. We assume the same goes for anyone who stumbles upon Sanjay Patel, illustrator extraordinaire and the owner of the Ghee Happy brand. Patel has produced four books under Ghee Happy, and his day job? He also happens to be an animator and story board artist for Pixar Animation Studios! When we were in India, we came across Patel’s illustrations and immediately bought his incredible book, The Little Book of Hindu Deities on Amazon. We were drawn to the colorful animations and sweet (informative) stories behind the Hindu myths. The book is amusing to children and adults alike; our copy director brought the book home to her 4-year-old and it has quickly become a favorite. Read on to learn about all of the animals, gods and goddesses, monsters, demons, noble warriors and divine divas, and don’t forget about Ganesha the elephant!
After many years of traveling the world, Tea co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Emily Meyer, has acquired an eye for worldly design. Her Palo Alto home, which she shares with her husband, Hilton and two children, Clement (6) and Georgia (4) is living proof! In their April issue, Family Circle featured Emily and her family in their eclectic space – Don’t miss her design tips!
With each trip Emily takes, whether it’s scouting inspiration for the next Tea season or visiting family abroad, she makes sure to find bazaars to search for treasures to bring back home. “I love pulling a design scheme together with exotic objects and textiles.” says Emily. Their home, built in 1908, has been transformed with a bold palatte, peppered with well-traveled finds – a Turkish Ikat pillow, a Mailan coverlet.
We were very luck to find Gouthami for our trip to India. Before she started her own travel company – Travel Another India – she spent 20 years working in social development and had made many great connections with craft people all over India. Gouthami introduced us to so many artisans and we had the pleasure of meeting many President Award winning craft people in remote villages. Here, she shares her knowledge on crafts in India with our readers!
Craft is the second largest employer in rural India after agriculture. In most villages you will find some form of craft – the potter, the weaver, the basket maker. It is still a way of life rather than an art to be practiced for its own sake.
Nuapatna is famous for its intricate Ikat weaving. In the background you can see the spindles of yarn casually stuck into the pile of sand, while the woman in the picture is wearing a hand-woven ikat sari as she goes about her daily chores.
While exploring India’s culture, it’s a given that you will learn about the cuisine. The smells and taste of Indian spices are enchanting as are the varied number of dishes that are available. While in India, our team traveled to many different areas. Paneer was offered in almost all of the regions and enjoyed in various dishes. Paneer is a cheese similar to cottage cheese or farmer’s cheese. It takes on multiple forms – in Eastern India it is cubed and in Northern India you’ll find it’s been kneaded and beaten like fresh mozzarella, the results a bit crumblier. It’s easy to see why it is a staple to many of meals in India!
We love sharing stories of our travels with you here on Studio T. It’s a great way for us to connect with you and convey the story behind our collection. Our hope is that our sense of adventure resonates with you and your little citizens!
Do you love to travel like we do? Have you ever traveled to India? If you’re up for it, we would love to collaborate on a guest post. Your story may be featured in our monthly newsletter! Fill out our poll below and we’ll be in touch!
I have painted on many surfaces over the years: clay, canvas, wood, buildings, streets, sidewalks, fabric, faces. None of this prepared me for painting on elephants. This is definitely something I never even dreamed of doing. I had mixed feelings going into it. I always awed at the beauty of the photographs of painted elephants in magazines and online, but was worried about what all that meant for the elephants. Weren’t they meant to be in the wild? Would these elephants be treated well?
I read all about Elefun before we went. It had good reviews and people had good things to say about how they treated the elephants. Our amazing trip planner, Gouthami, checked in with some of her local connections who also had good things to say about Elefun. Elefun is an elephant village dedicated to creating a safe and natural environment in order to conserve elephants. In Indian culture, elephants are revered, loved, respected and protected.
My first impression was that the elephants were MASSIVE. Being an animal nerd I knew that Indian elephants are one of the smaller varieties, these were anything but small. They introduced us to the elephants, had us pet their trunks. Showed us how to feed them bananas. They ate entire bunches of bananas at once, in what seemed like one giant bite.