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An ancient craft where the artisan lays silver, gold, or copper wires over a metal object and then fires it. The artist bends thin strips of copper with tweezer-like tools (in some cases silver and/or gold) into tiny compartmental shapes which remain visible in the finished piece. Several different colors of enamel powder made into a paste fill the compartments which are then fired in a kiln.
Using a technique called “Rice grain,” holes are pierced through the thick walls of rough and unfired porcelain and then filled with translucent glaze. When the whole thing has solidified together, the walls are thinned down manually. Highly skilled potters, usually young women, judge the thickness of the walls and the work’s progress by the sound of the paring knife against the unfired clay. Traditional blue and white decorative glaze is added to the porcelain and fired. When the piece is complete, you can see light through the holes made in the porcelain filled over by glaze.
Ginger jars are cherished by porcelain collectors for their beautiful and intricate designs. But ginger jars weren’t always this popular, especially in Europe, and they weren’t always called ginger jars. They originated in China in the Qin Dynasty and they began being exported to Europe in the 19th century. They were originally a vessel for storing precious spices but have since become a design classic, irresistibly shapely and decorative in all their blue-and-white glory (though we do have various other colors available from time to time as well).
Acacia is a large tree with a wide spreading crown and a short clear trunk found in the Philippines. The bark is dark and brown with leaves that resemble twin feathers. It is also known as the “Monkey Pod” tree. The wood is cross-grained, fine in texture, and somewhat hard and heavy.
To care for your Monkey Pod after use, wipe clean with a damp cloth. The occasional light oiling with olive or mineral oil enhances and protects the wood. Do not soak or use abrasives to clean this product. The Acacia item is dry food safe.
Capiz is a translucent mother-of-pearl shell that comes from the windowpane oyster. The name capiz is also a geographical location – a province in the Philippines – where these shells were originally found. They are used to make decorative items such as lamp shades, shelves, decorative balls, and also commonly used as in-lays in wooden serving trays.
Dam Good Stuff
Dam Good Stuff is a livelihood project that provides sustainable income for a women’s cooperative in Pangasinan, Philippines who were relocated by the development of the Sam Roque DAM. By purchasing their products, you are supporting these families and assuring them of sustainable income while expanding and enhancing their livelihood potentials. They guarantee that their export-quality fashion accessories are really dam good stuff!
One of the three main types of ceramics in Thailand, the name “celadon” derived from two Sanskrit words: “sila” meaning stone, and “dhara” meaning green. Therefore, “celadon” means green stone. The clay, known as “dim dam,” is found in the quarries of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The clay is dried, pounded, ground and sieved for any imperfections. After being mixed with water and curing in the open air, the clay is thrown on a pottery wheel and the piece is molded and left in the open air to dry. The clay is then hand carved, fired, glazed and then fired again. After the pieces are removed from the kiln, the glaze begins to crack which gives the celadon its unique appearance.
These beautiful and versatile containers are created by hand weaving strips of bamboo into the basic shape of the finished product, which is then “plastered” with a blend of teak sawdust and resin, sanded, and finally hand painted. (The lids are made the same way.)They were originally made to store sticky rice to keep it fresh and clean. Some restaurants in Thailand still serve their sticky rice in these containers. They are surprisingly light considering how sturdy their construction. The lids simply push on, and are held in place by knotting the carry cord. The designs include traditional Buddha images, floral motifs, banana leaf and lotus leaf styles, geometric patterns and the beautiful “Lanna” language scripts. Sizes range from tiny to large “urn” shapes which can reach six feet in height.
Thai painted porcelain dating back to the Ming Dynasty in China. Production of Benjarong is a process known to only small communities of Thai artists who pass down the knowledge from generation to generation. Only white porcelain (Bone China and Royal Porcelain) fired at the proper temperature for many hours are selected. The production process is incredibly labor-intensive, as each color is applied individually, and the piece is kiln fired after the application of each color. The firing process brightens the colors of the finished piece and adds to its beauty. Gold may also be used in painting the porcelain. Mistakes are unacceptable in Thai artist culture and Benjarong is expected to be perfect in every respect.