Hello! I'm Alissa
I’m the creator behind A Tea Leaf and love making modern and affordable jewelry.
I’m inspired by nature as well as vintage design styles like Art Deco and Art Nouveau. My latest and most popular collection is cut-out brass necklaces and earrings that have allowed me to combine my background in graphic design and illustration with my love for jewelry. I’ve created an array of different designs so it’s super easy to gift whether somebody is into pets, nature, vintage design, science, etc.
All the magic happens in Portland, Oregon with the help of my husband Justin and a few helpers.
Q & A
Where does the name "A Tea Leaf" come from?
The name "A Tea Leaf" is a play on the pronunciation of my name. "A" is for Alissa and "Tea Leaf" comes from my last name, Thiele, which is pronounced "TEA-lee). See what I did there? And I do love tea... preferably a minty one :)
How did A Tea Leaf get started?
Ever since I was little, I've loved to make things with my hands. This started out as drawings and paintings, and then lead to majoring in Graphic Design in college. After a few years in the real world, my husband and I (and our cat, Yoshimi) packed up and moved to Portland to be surrounded by music, nature, and amazingly creative people.
The Pacific Northwest immediately began to inspire my artwork. I started creating collage work with found papers & botanical drawings under the name A Tea Leaf. I also got interested in the idea of making my art/designs wearable and began learning about jewelry making. I found that jewelry allowed me to explore art from a whole new perspective. I was addicted!
Today, A Tea Leaf jewelry is still inspired by nature and exploring the Pacific Northwest as well as vintage touches.
Any exciting news you'd like to share?
One of my illustrations was just featured on the set of the HBO show 'Big Little Lies' (starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and Adam Scott)!
What are some projects you hope to tackle in the future?
Some new jewelry collections that I'm working on are combining my cut-out brass pieces with stones and other objects. I'm also going to start making some new smaller dainty post earrings.
What would you say inspires your work?
My work is inspired by nature in the Pacific Northwest and vintage design styles like Art Deco and Art Nouveau.
Are you diving into any good books, shows, or podcasts lately?
I'm really liking the new show "Making It" with Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman. Parks & Rec is one of my all time favorites so it's neat to see Amy & Nick mixed with crafty goodness. I like to keep up with Sea Lemon on YouTube too: https://www.youtube.com/user/SeaLemonDIY. And getting crafty with the Felt Decorations book by my friend Rachel Beyer: https://www.rachelbeyer.com/shop/felt-decorations-book
Tell us a bit about your artistic process!
I start out sketching a bunch of ideas, then draw the best ones in ink, then scan and finish them off in Adobe Illustrator. It's hard to decide which designs I like best so I'll often ask my Instagram followers to vote :) Once I've finalized a design, I have it laser cut out of brass and then I make them into earrings and necklaces.
What is one of your favorite spots in Portland? I know it’s hard to choose just one!
City State Diner is my go-to place for brunch and good a cup of coffee. I like to bring my sketch book and draw while I wait for my food.
What is your favorite product to make?
My line of cut-out brass necklaces and earrings allows me to combine my background in graphic design with my love of jewelry. So it's really the best of both worlds for me :)
If you could use just three words to describe your jewelry, what would they be?
Modern, casual, and positive