An alpaca resembles a small llama. Domesticated for thousands of years, they graze on the heights of the Andes of southern Peru and are bread for their fibers. Their fibers are natural, lustrous and silky. The fibers are warmer than wool but not prickly and carded and spun much like wool. Alpaka offers both fur and Alpaka wool products; throws, carpets and cushions. The alpacas are not killed for their fur, the animals die naturally from the sometimes hard life on the heights of Andes. The Alpaka designs are contemporary but still classic. Their carpets entising for any modern home and all fur rugs and throws are handmade. Alpaka sponsors the Cienqilla village for children in Peru.
The pottery scene in Morocco is intense . In every Medina a you will find a high variety of pottery in patterns and colors which are enticing. In my opinion, the most exciting pottery in Morocco both in regard to craftsmanship and design is the Akkal pottery . They make lead free pottery which also holds water. The colors and design are an extraordinary fusion of moroccan flair with western sleekness, very suitable for us with contemporary tastes. The pottery is handmade in their studio in Marrakech and you can get almost any coloring or glazing you like. To see these artisans with clay up their arms quickly transforming a piece of clay into a beautiful object leaves me full of awe. Many of their pieces are custom made so you can order the size or color that suits your home or space. The pottery is now sold and marketed by Fenyadi.
The production and sale of leather articles in Marrakech is everywhere. You can buy puffs, bags and shoes on every corner. An atelje which has managed to create leather and textile products with a new perspective is Atelje Nihal. They produce bags, carpets, cushions in intricate patterns of woven leather, cotton or linen. All items are hand woven and sewn. Many designs and patterns can be customized. The Atelje is located just outside Marrakech in a small showroom and workshop.
Bohemian crystal has been world famous for generations for their beauty and quality. When visiting Prague there is crystal around every corner. A lot of it, is still very traditional in regard to design. A company which has managed to combine the traditional crystal making techniques with more innovative designs is Artel. They offer many enticing and imaginative designs and colors. Both new traditional and contemporary and many in the legacy of the czeckoslovakian art deco movement. Their pieces are spotted in the high end design market, Arhitechtural Digest, Financial Times and Vogue. The choices of design and colors are many and you can order a costumized product in any pattern or color you desire. Real luxury has not been experienced before you enjoy a good wine in a heavy crystal goblet.
The best soaps are known to be portuguese. Their choice of oils make the soaps soft and a delicious smell lingers after use. These soaps are made outside Porto in northern Portugal in a small workshop. The soaps are often even shaped and packed by hand. The smells they create are wonderful why their home fragrance series will swipe any space with a wonderful fragrance. The traditions are old dating back hundreds of years. Today only a few manufacturers dominate the market.
Devi’s concept fits selissa’s perfectly. A contemporary indian design company in Dehli which produces handmade metal crafts according to indian traditions. Beautiful items are created by sandcasting or hand hammering then machines are used to buff and polish. Copper, brass, silver, aluminum or steel are molded into intriguing shapes. They support the Devi foundation, a nonprofit foundation supporting local art and founding an art center for exhibitions and education of contemporary art in India.
When it comes to leather and design there is one country whose traditions shine before all others. Italy has probably the highest concentration of wonderful designs and extraordinary craftsmanship. But Erba Italia stands out when it comes to innovative, high end design furniture. Their sofas are sumptuous, design statements which will reinvent any space , office or home. Their leathers are soft and supple and their choice of fabrics large. Customizations are possible on all objects. My favorite Italian furniture brand. I cannot guarantee all is handmade but the quality and materials of their production is amazing. Enjoy!
The oldest traditions of high quality carpets come from Iran and Turkey. The indian tradition is newer and came with the Mughals. Initially the knotting and patterns were inspired by the persian traditions but now many more contemporary hand made designs are made. Jaipur rugs were founded in 1978 on a small scale and now it is a large indian carpet maker. But the carpets are still knotted in women’s homes around the country originating in Jaipur.They are handwoven, hand tufted or hand knotted. They offer many traditional and contemporary designs and ale customized orders. We carry a few of the more interesting contemporary designs but you can order a wide variety of carpets of your liking. The Jaipur Foundation founded 2004 works with education women in carpet making and business with a mission to empower underprivileged women. They have received many prices for the social work supporting women and schools. A hand knotted carpet made for you will take some time depending on size. But that is a fact as one woman in her home will be knotting a carpet just for you. I think about this every time I put my feet on my soft jaipur rug.
Cashmere is one of India’s premier luxuries and one of india’s oldest craftsmanships. Janavi with its signature creations of shawls, stoles and blankets combine luxury with traditional and intricate craftsmanship. Janavi’s collections are classic but inventive. Each handcrafted piece is created from the finest cashmere combined with lace and needlework. A reinvention of the cashmere traditions with new intricate designs!
Filigree was part of the jewelry making thousands of years ago in Mesapotahmia and the tradition developed in Europe during the middle ages. Portuguese filigree developed in the 17-18th century making pieces of extraordinary complexity. The tradition lives on today in the ateljes in the north of Portugal. selissa works with a small workshop which has been there for many generations outside Porto. This little workshop with mostly male artisans carry on the tradition of filigree creating pieces of art from thin silver threads. They also make more contemporary pieces as well as traditional designs. All pieces are hand made out of thin silver threads or gold coated silver threads. All gold in portugal is 19.5 carats. My favorite are the large beautiful earrings they create, they are very light and comfortable to wear all day!
Our first visit to Taj Mahal was originally one of the triggers behind the creation of selissa . The intricate and complex geometric design of inlayed marble of the Taj can make us all in awe of what is humanly possible to create. The workshops producing artifacts of marble inlays with semiprecious stones is remarkable. The patterns are in the head of the artisan chipping a way a small piece of marble at a time to create space for every stone that is then glued in to the marble. They do all this by hand as they did when building the Taj. The white marble is high density indian Taj marble . The black is as well and according to stories the marble that should have been used for the second black Taj that was planned opposite the river, at least according to some. These inlayed marble works can be custom ordered in any size or form. In my opinion true luxury is to feel the smooth surface of inlayed table and thinking of the craftsmen mastering the hard stones.
Asias number one designer and producer of evening bags. All bags are hand made by her team of artisans in India in metals, materials and semi precious gemstones. They are all a piece of jewelry. Meera has a store in Mumbai and through her designs she reinvents the traditional craftsmanship in metal and gemstones with her artistic handbag designs. They are elaborate, a spice of India combined with a western touch. A great example of the reinvention and development of old traditional rafts with exquisite designs.