You Oughta Know: Artist Alissa Ann Thiele of A Tea Leaf

I have a special treat for you today lovelies! The first interview in my new series "You Oughta Know", in which I interview super cool people that I find inspiring/interesting/informative/intriguing...you get the idea. Make sure you read to the end because a fabulous giveaway is involved!

Here we go...

A few months ago I stumbled across the etsy shop A Tea Leaf. I was really captivated by the artists work, particularly her "Standard Movement Series". I couldn't stop studying each one, noticing the delicate botanical drawings, interesting honeycomb pattern, serene color palettes, bits of ledger paper, and...are those coffee rings? I had to find out more, so I contacted the artist for a little Q & A. Lucky for me, she is super sweet and kindly obliged!

Artist Alissa Ann Thiele

Q: "I would love to know a little more about the inspirations behind your "Standard Movement" series."

A: "Being new to Oregon, I couldn't sit still... I had a craving to see every nook and cranny of this flourishing state. It all started with an estate sale in rural Oregon near Silver Falls. There I found a vintage Bates Standard Movement numbering machine (hence the series name) and a Ekonomik check & deposit register. I loved the idea of mishmashing these two old-timey business tools, which I consider mechanical and logical... into my flawed drawings of plants. I've always had a thing for collaging and wanted to dive deeper into multimedia art. Being fascinated with my new green surrounding, I decided to document the plants I encounter here in Portland, rural Oregon, and the Coast. Each work of the series is titled by the number I stamped with the number machine."

Q: "I love that you use coffee rings in your work; how did that come about?"

A: "Working on my art and drinking a steamy cup of coffee is bliss. When I made a pot I would always unconsciously grab a mug out of the cupboard that my grandma owned. It was very distinct from the others that I owned. One evening while working on my art I started to ponder why I liked the mug over the others. I came to a conclusion that it was because of it's sentimental value and the comfortable feel in comparison to the others. To incorporate this mug and my love for coffee and tea, I started making coffee rings in my work."

Q: "I also noticed a honeycomb pattern is prevalent in the series, can you embellish on the significance of that particular pattern?"

A: "I am fan of stencil graffiti, Banksy has been very influential. I wanted to incorporate stencil graffiti in a more organic way. It began with making a tedious stencil of honey comb. I have always loved how geometric honey comb is and felt that it was an appropriate pattern to blend with the nature and mechanical characteristics already prominent."

Q: "What are some current inspirations that influence your work?"

A: "My artwork is influenced by my day to day life; from the soothing tea I drink… to the indie shoegaze and ambient music I listen to whole-heartedly… to my beautiful new surrounding in this urban, green city of Portland, Oregon. I also have an inspiration blog on Tumblr where I post songs, videos, and images that inspire my artwork... http://atealeaf.tumblr.com."


Q: "Where are your favorite places to hang out on the weekend?"

A: "Townshend's, it's a cozy tea house here- up on Alberta in Portland... I like to sit back, smell the aroma of chai and work on my sketchbook. When the weather is decent I make visits out to the charming Laurelhurst Park or I like taking strolls through Hawthorne, Mississippi, or Alberta."

Q: "A few of your favorite things?"

A: "Scarves, stencil graffiti, randomness, Anthropologie visits, Rapidograph pens, brown ink, Prisma markers, maps, Portland, my Sandford pencil set, coffee rings, nature, aimless rural road trips, thrift shop finds, my coffee black, vintage paper, moss, and the Oregon coast."

I hope you all enjoyed this glimpse into the life and inspirations of Alissa, my first "You Oughta Know" participant! And now, my friends, for the giveaway! Alissa has so kindly offered up print 00005 (one of my personal faves!) from her Standard Movement series:

Giveaway rules: All you need to do is check out her etsy shop and leave a comment on your favorite item from the shop here on this post. I'll even throw your name in the draw a second time if you link back here to this post on your own blog! I will leave the drawing open for one week, so come back next Monday evening (3/9) for the winner!

Thank you so much Alissa for participating in this interview and for the wonderful giveaway!

Quick Links:
View all the pieces from her Standard Movement series on Alissa's flickr here
Check out her website here
Her tumblr blog here
And her etsy shop here


  1. Alissa's stuff is amazing!

    Although the Standard Movement series is beautiful, I have to say that my favorite is The Great Gray Whale Migration.

    Born near Portland, I spent my childhood along the coast and travel back there as often as possible. A trip down highway 101 is usually an annual event for me. This photo lets me experience the uniqueness of the Oregon coast all the way over here in the East.

  2. Great interview! And thanks for the introduction to her amazing work. I think my two faves in her shop are 0005 and 0003...both fantastic!

  3. Jackie - what a fabulous idea for a series! I can't wait to see who you'll focus on next.

    Her art is amazing - her shop has so many great finds, but I think I like 003 and I Had to Buy Every Book He's Written. I love the idea of using wooden blocks.

  4. thank you for the etsy post! (you know how I feel about navigating etsy hehe) her work is really cute/whimsical. I like 0007 the best (but its not available in the store) so I'd have to take 0005 or the magnets. I love that type of clear little button magnets for my fridge!

  5. I love 00005 - somehow the shape reminds me of a map of Britain! Love this series!

  6. The colors she uses are magical! I love the power lines in rural oregon photo--surreal and wonderful!

  7. Coffee rings from coffee --too cool. and what a beautiful piece of art! I need some pretty things to go on my new inspiration board downstairs(this woudl look VERY nice---hint hint)!!!! love 00005.

    happy day to you!

  8. Beautiful, beautiful art. And reading about how Alissa got inspired by an estate sale by Silver Falls made me so nostalgic I almost cried--I grew up in Corvallis and some of my dearest memories are camping out at Silver Falls with my family. Love.

    Funny enough, my favorite piece is actually "Must have been an interesting childhood." HA! :)

  9. Wow, how beautiful these are! So glad you shared this, her work is amazing and I am sure to become a fan now :)

  10. It's hard to choose just one favorite, but I'd say "New There's Rhyme." Thanks for sharing ATeaLeaf's work!

  11. I love Alissa's work, I think my favorite is "Winter Passing" the woodblock. Keep it up!

  12. I think I love everything she does! She is so creative. My favorite is the magnets and The Great Grey Whale Migration.

  13. I LOVE the STANDARD MOVEMENT SERIES, the colors, organic themes, and recyling.....is amazing! Then you add her artistry, and creativity...it's PERFECT! My favorites are 0003 and 0005, they would be perfect in my home!

    Thanks Jackie for introducing Alissa Ann to us.

  14. I love the vibe of the Standard Movement series. I've always been drawn to art that incorporates
    "scientific" drawings and organic elements. Also, I love the idea of using antique business tools to provide art as well. Compiling all of the fantastic factors of her art, makes for extremely unique and cool pieces that I love!! Keep up the GREAT work!

  15. Oops! Forgot to tell you which is my favorite! I love "I had to buy every book he has written." I love the light colors and all the quaint details. Love it!

  16. I love Alissa's color palate and organic shapes...my faves are 0005 and 0003.

  17. Rural Oregan print, because it reminds me of NE, which is where I met Alissa, and def the magnets...who can't use another magnet?

  18. awesome artistry! where does she get such original ideas? nebraska and oregon mix...love the 0004 work and many others. i will have to make some spaces to display the great stuff. keep up the wonderful work.
    thanks jackie for sharing with us...

  19. I like the one of the invisible whales. Symbolic of the way our society crashes against... blah blah blah.. I like water photos.

  20. Beautiful shop and great interview. I am going to go with Grace Away as my fave :)

  21. Way to go Alissa!

    I like the A Bit Befuddled print of the kooky owl. It makes me smile a little each time I see it. I also like the Great Grey Whale Migration photo. The coffee rings are a nice touch too. Nice article.

  22. Wow. This is a tough choice to make. Everything is so pretty and unique. I absolutely love the print she is giving away and the Grace Away design.