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.
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.
Tourists from all over the world are drawn to the Hawaiian Islands for their paradise charm. And while the surreal white-sand beaches, lush jungles and mesmerizing sunsets make for an incredibly relaxing escape, there’s so much fascinating culture to experience as well.
Hawaii’s rich native culture has its origins in the Polynesians who, over 1,000 years ago, voyaged from the Marquesas Islands in handmade canoes. Today, Polynesian influence can be seen everywhere from art and dance, to traditional delicacies. See how some of these traditions made their way onto our latest designs.
The West Coast is made up of so many different micro-climates. From the northernmost part of Washington to the border of Baja, it’s a magical Mediterranean environment. Think sweeping coastal beaches full of marine life, and seasonally mild temps. However, venture inland and you’ll find yourself amidst a unique combination of surroundings—snowy, towering Sierras and redwood covered forests, flat, rural farmlands, and eventually a hot, dusty desert landscape. With such a rich and varied ecosystem, it’s no wonder the Pacific Coast is a welcoming habitat for so many wonderful plant and animal species.