We had the pleasure of having Anita Murray the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. visit the Bazaar on September 9th. Read her review by clicking here. Thanks Anita for visiting and for your lovely article! Hope to see you next year!
This year we brought our two key staff on our Asian buying trip, Brenda Cavacciuti (our Display Specialist) and Jordan Horlin (Jewelry Room Manager). Their observations are below.
A Buddha is no longer just a Buddha. After going to Bangkok and Bali this winter to join the Bakker’s on their annual buying trip, I have returned a person who appreciates the traditions of this part of the world.
I feel the experience has opened my eyes to so many things. The Bakker’s work hard to buy from many different artists and businesses. It was so interesting to help and watch this process. Travelling the countryside for many hours meeting artisans in different villages, each with their own specialty products.
I especially enjoyed helping select the mosaic product. There were so many beautiful colours to choose from it was hard for me to come up with the final five patterns but I think you will like what I chose. If not, I guess I will get to buy it all. Ha, Ha…
It was a long way to travel but I appreciated the opportunity to be part of the buying team. It made me understand all the work that goes into making, buying and shipping the product. I hope to show some of that appreciation while displaying the barn this season.
In 2016 we did a special trip to Mexico. Peggy and Dick had travelled to Mexico 35 years ago, and Peggy has been doing some quick buying trips over the past 4 years.
This time they went together and were able to visit three very different regions; Guadalajara (for our buying), Baja California (kayaking with good friends) and Mexico City (for a short holiday).
The country has certainly changed since 1981; busier for sure, but everywhere the Mexicans are still incredibly friendly and helpful. We were struck by how many people, in each busy airport, were eager to guide us to our destination. The slightest indication of confusion brought airport staff and Mexican travelers to our assistance; always with a smile and a guiding hand.
Mexico has had a lot of bad publicity the last few years, but our experience was nothing but great. Each city we visited had wonderful public art throughout the downtown area, and Mexico City has the best bicycling infrastructure we have ever seen! This is certainly an example of international media exposure about crime and pollution overshadowing the other realities of hospitality, thoughtful development and decency. Mexico was a wonderful and pleasant surprise.
Our Guadalajara glass producer gave us a great tour of how the product is made. Our supplier uses recycled tequila bottles for all of their glass production. These bottles are crushed down into a form that can be fired in the extremely hot ovens, then hand blown and shaped into individual glass pieces. There were over 30 people working at this process using 4 different ovens. Most of what this factory makes is the traditional Mexican glass with the Red/Green/Blue/Amber strip at the top; strong, attractive and distinct.
We are sponsoring this inspirational evening with Stephen Lewis on October 24, 2015. We hope you are able to come out and show your support for the Cornerstone Housing For Women Charity. For more info visit: http://ottawa.anglican.ca/cornerstone/.
One of our favourite new finds was ‘Finest Lacquer’ in Hanoi. They produce lacquer with a very different feel and texture; the base of the product is fiberglass with a lacquered finish. The quality is very good and the material quite strong. They design everything themselves and specialize in very unique colours. They produce most of the product in their Hanoi factory and source some of the product in a local village that specializes in ceramics.
The shop is now run by Dat and her brother Hoang Anh Nguyen. With regular supervision and help of their mother. The family’s history is an incredible story that mirrors the past 60 years of Hanoi.
The business was founded 30 years ago by the mother, with the help of her 4 son’s. The father was a tailor who had gone blind and passed away. The mother started the business as a single mother when the children were very small. She learned French, Russian and German as the country moved through different phases of international visitors. Initially she started as a tailor equipment supply store, and then added one service after another to the point where now they have 4 businesses around the world.
The youngest son Hoang Anh runs the Lacquer shop with his sister Dat, the oldest son lives in London and operates an art gallery, the second son runs the factory, sadly the third son passed away, but his wife is running one of the businesses. Five years ago Mother adopted Dat and welcomed her into the family as a sister to her boys. It was obvious from how they operated together that this was a very successful business and family, they operate in both spheres very well.
We hope you will enjoy their products and consider the road they have taken to make it for us.