We scoured the stalls and the shops of Scott market…..Mother of Pearl plates, coasters and hors d’oeuvres picks, abalone bracelets, hand painted umbrellas, wooden puppets, etched bells….just a few of the “must have” treasures we
Formerly known as Scott Market, now renamed to honor of General Aung, this marketplace is a destination for shoppers. Among the cobblestone streets you’ll find shops and stalls featuring fashions, accessories, jewelry, decorative accents, tableware, “antiques” and local crafts, from Myanmar, China and Thailand. First stop, a little lacquerware shop featuring product from Bagan. While I wanted to hold off on purchasing lacquer til my next stop in Bagan, I couldn’t resist indulging in some beautiful japanese style lacquer…..wait til you see!
This little 15 year old spitfire is our sales person at the Shwedagon Temple shops. After a quick browse we keyed in on these intricate brass shrines. Our thought is to use them as candle holders so we’re getting 4 different sizes to create a beautiful tablescape. Our delightful sales person shares with us, her favorite item…..a disco buddha!! Buddha peacefully sits atop a color changing stand.., I think we have to have them!
Tranquil Tuesday’s Charlene Wang coordinates a tea tasting at Asia Society. Tranquil Tuesdays is a social enterprise, based in Beijing China. believeing that as the flavors and aromas of tea slowly reveal their inherent qualities as they st…eep, with the proper training, support and encouragement, women can reach their full potential enjoying work that showcases their innate talents.
The teas are sourced from family-owned tea gardens where tea is still hand-picked and processed. The handmade tea ware showcases talent from Jingdehen, the ancient porcelain capital of China, creating unique one-of-a-kind tea ware that enhances the tea drinking experience.tea tasting at the Asia Society last Friday.
“We were in the Hazara district taking videos of the 2 women’s groups we currently work with: HAZARA PULKARI CENTER & AL FALAH FOUNDATION. We spent time with some amazing women, including Tasleem Bibi, Project Manager for AL-FALAH. We visited one of the nearby villages up on a mountain and we were invited to see work in process by one family run by a single widowed mother whose five daughters are all sewing and embroidering. They allowed us to photograph them which is highly unusual for this province.
Al-Falah Foundation was started by 5 women who saw the basic skills of the local Hazara women and wanted to help the women with marketing their products to a wider domestic audience. They have been around for 12 years and are making significant changes in the quality of women’s lives. They currently work with 1200 women in 27 villages. When we were filming at the center they were in the process of taking one of their embroiderers to see her lawyer as her husband was divorcing her and taking custody of all the children.
If a woman is divorced or widowed she is unable to work outside the home, especially in remote area such as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which is very conservative. It is estimated that 2-3 out of 100 women work outside the home. AL FALAH FOUNDATION initially acquired their location on Grand Trunk road in Haripur as it is a heavily travelled road for tourists heading north towards Abbotobad & Nathiagalli. They had hoped to have a boutique within their office complex and had made sgns and bought mannikins, but their signs were torn down and their windows painted over by men in the community not wanting such exposure for a woman’s organization.
They have asked us at PTOP, to help better their marketing and design skills to an international audience and to help provide consistent work for many of these families. ”
Poetic Threads of Pakistan will be bringing the artistry of Pakistan to AsiaStore this July…stay tuned for details!
We have just returned from Japan and want to make a report of our journey. This particular year we felt compelled to go see our friends to show our support in this time of national crisis. Even though the carnage of the earthquake/tsunami was confined largely to the northern coastal regions, the entire country has been psychologically damaged by the experience. Stories of the painful aftermath unfolded with each visit, but the overwhelming feeling was of survival and renewal. The Japanese people are very aware and appreciative of the support extended by the American people in their time of need, particularly the emergency crews from the US military for medical assistance and in the reopening of the Sendai airport. Our friends were effusive in their gratitude.
Many stories were told about the families and friends who suffered losses in the tragedy. Some had already spent time volunteering in the rescue efforts or were scheduled to participate. One of our ceramics makers was closing down their kilns for two weeks, taking their entire crew of two dozen workers up to help with the debris removal and other tasks of reconstruction. The Sugaharas in particular are involved in fundraising efforts directed toward the reconstruction. No one remained unaffected by the disaster.
What we experienced during our time in Japan was the conspicuous absence of tourists. Never in our more than three decades of visiting Japan have we seen so few foreigners. With both international and domestic tourism almost at a standstill, a significant part of their economy is at risk. Retail business plummeted after the disaster, with most people feeling it was not appropriate to be shopping while so many of their fellow countrymen were in such peril. The great Japanese architect Tadao Ando expressed it eloquently, saying that “I think Japan needs to rethink its connection to family, love for one’s country, its role in Asia and the responsibilities as an individual living on this planet.” He believes that this is a potential moment for Japan to redefine itself.
At this point in time, the support that Japan seems to need most is a sense of normalcy. If you have ever wanted to experience Japan, this is the time to go and enjoy this amazing culture. It is a good time to support Japanese design and manufacturing, including drinking lots of sake! Japan will recover with dignity, and does not seek a hand out. What it most appreciates is being appreciated, just as we all do. We need to support and encourage those who most reflect our own values and ideals.
During our time in Japan, visiting all of our traditional makers, we worked together to choose and create designs for the upcoming season that reflect the best of Japanese tradition as seen through the lens of our own time. We returned with a renewed sense that our friendship and support does make a difference.
Discover the treasures of the season at AsiaStore!
AsiaStore has scoured the marketplaces of Asia to bring you the perfect gift at the perfect price! Celebrates the holiday season with the renowned brands of Asia and the latest colelctions of jewelry, textiles and home accents from emerging artisans and designers. Shimmering silks from Thailand, hand painted textiles from Pakistan, decorative accents from China, gemstones from India and more…. Every purchase encourages the talented designers whose work is featured at AsiaStore while also supporting Asia Society’s exhibitions and programs. There’s no place like AsiaStore for the holidays !
Shop now: www.asiastore.org/holiday09feature1.html