We have a great range of handmade lanterns from Hoi An, Vietnam. Hoi An, was settled by Chinese traders in the 18th Century. Traditionally hung on a full moon they are said to bring good luck to the house they inhabit. Beautiful when suspended inside or out in clusters of glorious colour and shapes, the sight of a silk lantern always takes us back to the majestic village of Hoi An.
The frames of these lanterns are made from bamboo and wood at Smile House. Smile House opened in January 2010 and now provides employment and support to people with a disability who make handicrafts such as lanterns, embroidery, and bags. Many of its members, who were often rejected by other employers, say their souls have been reborn after coming to Smile House, where they are loved by everybody. A local family then covers the frames in a silk brocade.
Available for sale in Australia from our online store.
We carry a range of handmade Vietnamese lacquerware including plates, bowls, wine bottle holders and dry mount photo albums.
Vietnamese people have used natural resin extracted from lacquer trees to produce lacquer products to serve everyday life for thousands of years and many lacquer products have been found in ancient tombs. The art of lacquerware was handed down from generation to generation as a family secret until the first half of the 20th century.
Today, Vietnamese lacquerware is meticulously handmade in just two villages north of Hanoi. Lacquer resin comes from lacquer trees found growing mostly in the North of Vietnam. When first extracted from a tree, the lacquer is a white, condensed like milk then turning brown in the air as it oxidises, and gradually becoming black when dried. Mixed with a solvent it becomes clear and hard when dried. Each piece usually goes through 20 stages, the process itself takes no less than 100 days, regardless of whether the end product is a large picture or a small chilli bowl.
Check out our range, plate sets and photo albums are currently on sale with 30% off.
Just uploaded to our website are some great gifts made from recycled paper. Handmade by the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre, from recycled newspaper, they make great fair trade gifts and come with the benefit of knowing you are helping disadvantaged women in Laos PDR.
On our recent trip to Laos we spent an amazing day at the centre celebrating Pi Mai Laos (Laos New Year) with the wonderful Madam Chanhpheng Sivila and her staff and residents.
The LDWDC is a not for profit organisation, run by women with disabilities, for women with disabilities and their families. Disabled women are among the most vulnerable groups in Laos. The combined factors of gender and disability often leads to difficulty accessing education and gaining employment. The LDWDC provides vocational and life skills training as well as small business management empowering disabled women to return to their villages and earn a living.
To date Lauren and Ella have raised close to $1100 to build a toilet at Nong Khiaw school in Northern Laos. We visited the school in April and the girls were inspired to try and help the school. Their goal is to raise $2000 – nearly half way there.
Fundraising has been slow the past month due to the weather on the south coast not being great for markets but looks like it could be a great weekend this Sunday at Coledale. The girls will be at Huskisson markets on 10th August, selling cupcakes, bracelets and purses.
Any donations are also gladly appreciated and bank details can be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Just arrived – bamboo bowls. These bowls are handmade, using the centuries old technique of bamboo coiling also known as spun bamboo.
Botanically categorised as a grass and not a tree, bamboo just might be the world’s most sustainable plant. It is light-weight, has a natural anti-bacterial quality and is incredibly hardy and durable.
These bowls are great for everyday use or special occasions and can withstand hot food and sauces. With proper care, spun bamboo bowls will last a lifetime.
Available singularly or as a set including fruit bowl, salad bowl, platter and 4 small bowls.
Last month whilst traveling in Northern Laos we visited Nong Khiaw Primary School and handed out exercise books to the children. The children were beautiful and the learning conditions to say the least, primitive. On speaking to the Principal we asked him what the school needed. A toilet.
When we arrived home, my daughters Lauren and Ella decided they would like to help the school and have been madly baking cupcakes to sell along with bracelets, and purses we bought in Laos. They have been sacrificing their Sundays getting up early and joining me at the markets. So far along with some generous donations they have raised $700.
Since starting this project we have joined with a mutual friend to also help Nong Khiaw’s neighboring school. This school does not have electricity or running water. Every Sunday children from the outlying villages and hill tribes come by boat to both schools, bringing with them a bag of rice for the week. They sleep at the school until Friday when they return home. The school does not have a building to cook in. Sadly these schools are no different to a lot of schools in Laos. Our goal is to raise $2000 to build a toilet at Nong Khiaw and assist the school in obtaining running water and a kitchen.
Any donations are gladly appreciated and bank details can be provided by contacting email@example.com
We arrived back a few weeks ago from an amazing trip through Northern Laos. We found lots of interesting new products and fell in love with the Laos people, their sense of fun and open and forgiving hearts.
One thing we learnt whilst there is that Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. An average of one bombing mission, every 8 minutes, 24 hours a day for 9 years, 30% of which remained in Laos after the war. Each year when it is wet season unexploded ordnance washes down the rivers. Everywhere we travelled we saw evidence of bomb craters and creative uses of bomb shells, even houses built from them.
In Luang Prabang we came across a man selling jewellery and spoons made from ordnance. ‘Make Spoons not War’. At first we thought this was a good thing until we learnt the danger villagers put themselves in collecting scrap metal for the few dollars they sell it for.
We visited the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre whilst in Vientiene and Nong Khiaw Primary School – more on this later.
The LDWDC is a not for profit organisation, run by women with disabilities, for women with disabilities and their families. Disabled women are among the most vulnerable groups in Laos. The combined factors of gender and disability often leads to difficulty accessing education and gaining employment. We were invited to join in their Baci ceremony part of Pi Mi (Laos New Year) celebrations. A truly wonderful experience.
We are very excited to be associated with such a wonderful organisation and to be selling recycled paper products. Keep an eye out on our website, coming soon.