Category: Behind the Design

Behind the Design: Native Artists x Tea Collection

Native Artists x Tea Collection Fall Collaboration

The US is home to people of many cultures, identities, and walks of life. Some of us are here because generations ago our great grandparents and great, great grandparents left their home countries and set sail to a new land filled with promise of hope and opportunity. Others emigrated more recently. And then there are those whose ancestry traces back to the first people to call the US their home.

Our 2018 collection embarks on a journey across America, exploring its kaleidoscope of cultures and celebrating the communities that make each region so unique. Honoring America’s first cultures, this season, we collaborated with indigenous artists all over the country to create original art that’s true to tribal tradition and designed to inspire curiosity.

Learn more about the inspiration behind our exclusive Native Artists x Tea Collection designs.

NATIVE ARTISTS X TEA COLLECTION: MEET J GROWING THUNDER

J Growing Thunder

A three-generation grandmother, mother, daughter trio, J Growing Thunder represents three distinguished Native American artists: Joyce, Juanita, and Jessa Rae Growing Thunder. A member of the Fort Peck Assiniboine (Nakoda) and Sioux (Dakota) tribes of Montana, matriarch, Joyce, spent much of her childhood gathered around with all of the grandmothers watching them bead. Quick to pick up their talents, she began designing her own quillwork and beadwork at a young age and, by the 1980’s, made a name for herself as one of the West’s most highly regarded beadworkers. Today her daughter and granddaughter follow in her footsteps, carrying on this cultural heritage and tradition.

Not only were we lucky enough to collaborate with these talented women on our latest Native Artists x Tea Collection designs, but we had the unique opportunity to get to know their story. Follow along for a behind-the-scenes glimpse of their life and work.

NATIVE ARTISTS X TEA COLLECTION: MEET JEFFREY GIBSON

Native Artists x Tea Collection Jeffrey Gibson

A passionate painter and sculptor, New York-based artist, Jeffrey Gibson, draws on his Choctaw-Cherokee heritage, blending traditional indigenous techniques and materials—beads, hides, and vibrant fabrics—with contemporary motifs and colorful narratives. His work is exquisitely handcrafted, and beautifully unexpected. We were so lucky to tap his creative genius for our fall collaboration prints. Here he gives us a bit of perspective on his life and craft.

NATIVE ARTISTS X TEA COLLECTION: MEET JULIA MARDEN

Native Artists x Tea Collection Julia Marden

Internationally recognized Eastern Woodland artist, Julia Marden, looks to her native Aquinnah Wampanoag roots as a source of creative inspiration. Weaving together the ancient stories and traditions of her people with nature’s finest materials, she handicrafts some of the most incredible 17th century basketry around. An equally accomplished painter and beadwork artist, we were lucky to get the chance to collaborate with her to bring her beautifully painted gourds and authentic beadwork designs to life in our Fall prints. Here’s what we learned about her in the process.

Mexican Motifs: Otomi Embroidery

The Southwest is alive with the vibrant folk art motifs that are so characteristic of indigenous artwork found all over Mexico. Developed by the native Otomi people in the small, plateau town of Tenango, are some of the most fantastic embroidered textiles we’ve ever set eyes on. Drawing inspiration from bold colors, animals, and floral prints, the time-honored tradition of Otomi embroidery is hinted at in a handful of our summer styles.

The Species of the Southwest: Desert Life Inspired Designs

From prickly towering cacti and resilient wild blooms, to crawling critters, the scenic Southwest is home to all kinds of desert wildlife. Come along as we explore across the sandy desert floors, through spiraling canyons and atop lone mesas, and keep your eyes out for earthy friends along the way! We’ll show you where to spot some of our favorite Southwestern species.

Ready? Let’s get tracking!

Mexican Motifs: Oaxacan Florals

Mexico is a country rich in incredible culture, tradition and creative expression. Toward the southern tip lies Oaxaca, a state particularly famous for its fascinating mix of colonial buildings, colorful cuisine and strong indigenous influence (more than half of the nation’s indigenous Mesoamerican speakers call this rugged region home). A collector’s dream, it is the place to go for the best folk art finds.