Travel Treasures How To Pick And Display Them

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It is officially summer and hopefully many of you will be travelling, if not this summer then sometime soon.

“Travel once a year to someplace you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama

I recently returned from a week in Mexico with my oldest daughter Tyla. We took the trip to celebrate her 40th birthday. It was wonderful to spend time with her one on one.  She is a busy grown up with a family, a job and home of her own and this quiet uninterrupted time we had together was delightful and a treasured memory for us both.

Joanne wearing her beautiful silver necklace.

While Tyla and I were enjoying another perfect day in paradise we met a beautiful woman named Joanne and (as you do while floating around in a pool half naked and mellowed out) we started to chat about travel and where we are from, Joanne is from Arizona. Later in the week we ran into Joanne at the silver shop as we were trying on gorgeous Mexican silver jewelry. Later we were excited to see what she had purchased which led us to a delightful chat about memorable things we have collected on our various trips and adventures.   Joanne shared a story about a plaque she bought on a trip several years ago, she said how much she loved it, how it spoke to her when she chose it. So in a stroke of genius, during her recent kitchen renovation she had it installed as a feature in her tile backsplash; a brilliant idea and a perfect way to incorporate a precious memory into her home. It reminded me of a similar application on the Hotei project where we reused the handmade tiles that were originally on the boat and had to be removed for the renovation. They were created by a White Rock British Columbia artist in 1985 for our client’s mother. I am so pleased they are reinstalled for the next generation of her family to enjoy.

Hotei coffee area with backsplash of original tiles.

Hotei coffee area with backsplash of original tiles.

 

My dear friend Marni is a world traveler and she has the best description for knick- knacks I have ever heard – she calls it “Shelf Shit”. While I agree with her that most trinkets and plastic oddities are worthy of that description I know she would also say that it is important to commemorate meaningful trips with something that reminds you of the place and what it meant to you.  Her home is a breathtaking homage to her many travels.

Dining area of Marni's home in Bali.

Dining area of Marni’s home in Bali.

My first choices are almost always textiles. I find textile souvenirs the easiest to transport home. They are usually sturdy and durable and once you have them home they are the most useful and therefor easiest to justify purchasing. Most cultures have a textile history and I find them rich and thrilling.

During my trip to Bali last summer I had the great good fortune to meet the artist David  and then to visit his batik studio, David Bali ,in Pejeng Village. David shares the studio with the batik artist Tjok Agung Pemayun of Batik Pejeng. I was able to see firsthand the traditional methods of the art of Batik. David’s designs seem to me more modern while Batik Pejeng’s  are more traditional in style using the canting tool to draw the designs in wax. The method of using stamps called ‘a cap’ is what David uses on all of his designs. Combining vintage stamps with others he designs himself, the textiles are true works of art.

New and vintage stamps from David's workshop in Bali.

New and vintage stamps from David’s workshop in Bali.

Creativity and craftsmanship in action at David's Studio in Bali.

Creativity and craftsmanship in action at David’s Studio in Bali.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 11.57.50 AMTextiles reveal so much about a culture.  While in Ubud, Bali I visited the Threads of Life Centre where local people are working to save the diverse weaving and dyeing methods of Indonesia. It is an inspiring project to create financial security while recovering and retaining the rich cultural identity of the many islands of Indonesia. It was beautiful and moving to absorb how much meaning and heritage is in the weaving and dyeing of the fibres.

Weaving in Threads of Life Gallery, Ubud, Bali.

Weaving in Threads of Life Gallery, Ubud, Bali.

In Australia I saw amazing examples of weaving and basket making affirming for me that function is true beauty.

In Australia I saw amazing examples of weaving and basket making affirming for me that function is true beauty.

Art is of course a perfect memento of a trip. Not always simple to put into a suitcase but worth the contortions and coordinating it takes to get it home.  A painting I have in my bedroom is a precious reminder of one of my last trips to Mexico with my husband Thom. We were staying in a little rental villa in La Manzanilla, we wandered into a small beautiful gallery and both of us fell in love with the piece. It was large and fabulous and we were determined to get it back to Vancouver with us. Which we did in a huge length of 8” PVC pipe – the kind you see on large public sewage and drainage projects! We did not imagine this pipe when the young woman assured us she could take it off the stretcher frame and roll it for us to take home.  The memory of that trip and the fun we had juggling to get the sewer pipe and our art home fills my heart each time I look at it.

My gorgeous Mexican painting by artist, Edward Glliam.

My gorgeous Mexican painting by artist, Edward Glliam.

One of our clients is a passionate adventurer. She had traveled extensively through northern Canada as a nurse and had compiled an interesting collection of  First Nation’s art as well as pieces from the many trips she has taken outside of Canada. We unified her selections by re-matting them in white while keeping most of the original frames and creating a salon wall in the living room.  I know that she was pleased that her travel memories could be handsomely displayed for her enjoyment.

Marina Side pictures collection unified in matt white.

Marinaside pictures collection unified in matte white.

Rugs are a perfect functional souvenir. While buying a dress in Brisbane Australia the woman who was helping me asked me what I did for work. When I told her I am an Interior Designer she spent the next fifteen minutes describing the rug that she just bought in Turkey. It was a great story featuring her and her husband navigating the markets and negotiating less with the vendors and more with each other about value, patterns and size. She was animated and radiant as she told the story. I felt like I was with her in that Turkish market and it was wonderful!

On our last trip to Mexico Thom and I went to an artist market with our friends who we were staying with in Las Ayala. While having a fabulous, bright and fun day we chose to purchase the least colourful rug I had ever seen in Mexico, we loved it for its natural mostly undyed wool and simple pattern. The artist and his family created the rug from the ground up, raising the sheep, carding, spinning and dying the wool before weaving it into our rug.  We had a wonderful time meeting him while spending a memorable day with close friends in a unique and very special place.  I use the rug in my front entry hall and it is a welcoming daily reminder of that last trip together.

Our good friends with my lovely Tom in orange on the far right.

Our good friends with Thom in orange on the far right.

The rug from our Mexico trip. Every time I look at it, so many good memories come to mind.

The rug from our Mexico trip. Every time I look at it, so many good memories come to mind.

 

Pottery and glass although fabulous can be tricky to get home safely. I use plate stands to prop the two unique bowls that Thom brought home for me on two of his motorcycle trips to the South Western United States. He would lovingly fit gifts he thought I would enjoy into the nooks and crannies on his bike, how I do not know because space was at a premium and one of the plates is big! When he got home he would giddily tell me all about the trip and the artist and what inspired him to choose these pieces in particular. I love these bowls not just for their beauty but because to me they are treasures of the heart.

Thom on his bike that he used to explore and bring home travel treasures.

Thom with his bike, he traveled far and wide on it and would always bring home travel treasures for me.

It is important to find a way to incorporate your travel treasures into your home. They give a depth and dimension to your living space. They are portals for you to time travel. They tell a story of you and your journeys and offer a way to share the richness and beauty of other places with your friends and family.

“Traveling, it leaves you speechless – then turns you into a storyteller.” Ibn Battuta

Bon Voyage!

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Author: Dwaina

I am devoted to making people love living in their homes. I have done that with absolute joy for most of my life and as a career for the past 20 years or so... I am a homebody – I do not actively seek adventure but I have had adventures. I believe home is the most sacred and important place in the world. I say I grew up on a farm – but I doubt technically it would qualify as a farm. Five acres – one milk cow – one calf - we ate them when they grew up, lots of chickens and a few pigs – we ate them too… I was that kid who dragged rugs and furniture out to the orchard and set up outdoor rooms. It mixed my two favourite things – outside and comfortable furniture. My friends and I would sleep outside in my “rooms”. It was magical because my ceiling was full of stars. I have lived in small houses, big houses, basement suites, cottages, condos and apartments. I have built and I have renovated houses. For a short time in my young life I was without a home – this changed me. I have lived with pets, wanted and unwanted – rodents are unwanted… I have lived in a house richly full with the raising of my four children. I have had the tremendous joy of my children carrying my grandchildren into my home. I have had my home become an “empty nest” and my life shrunken and shattered with the loss of my beloved husband. Home and my people there have always been my comfort. It does not matter where home is, it only matters that you are in it and that you find comfort there and that is why I do what I do.
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