Meet Sophia, our Inspiring Little Citizen from Rochester, New York. Sophia is an inspiring example of not judging a book by its cover. Because as a 7 ½-year-old with alopecia, she knows what it feels like when others do. She’s on a mission to spread the message of choosing curiosity and friendliness over assumption and exclusion. She made a video at school to teach her peers about her condition, and she treats others with visible differences the way she hopes to be treated–not with fear or judgment, but with connectedness and understanding.
Read on to learn more about Sophia and how she’s setting out to make a difference.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Giving is at the core of our mission to be good global citizens. To us, that means supporting children who make a difference—whether it’s helping a neighbor, volunteering, or making sure no one is left to sit alone at lunch. Last year, in an effort to celebrate little citizens who are stepping up to help make the world a better place, we donated $37,258 to five inspiring kids across the U.S. in support of their meaningful work.
We had the chance to catch up with our 2017 Inspiring Little Citizens finalists. Follow along to hear what they’ve been up to!