I’ve always been enchanted by the work of global artisans. There is something to admire about these gifted people who piece by piece, weave by weave and strand by strand patiently creates a work of art that is full of history, enchantment and character. To know their stories and even learn from them is a dream. A good friend of mine, a doe-eyed beauty with an amazing soul is living that dream! Charmie and her boyfriend is living in a beautiful hut surrounded by a lush garden in Chiang Mai,Thailand; and along with lessons of what’s important in life, they are meeting these artisans and showcasing their work at their new store, New Crop Shop. I learned more about their inspiration and their process in an interview below with the shop’s muse.
1. Why did you name your shop New Crop and what does it mean to you?
As odd as it may sound, the name New Crop actually found us! It came beautifully written on a ribbon when we bought a sack of rice! The name resonated with us because it symbolized a “new crop of products that come alive through the organic and timeless process of working with your hands. In a day and age where our world perpetually spins faster towards a technological age and everything is instant, we wanted to highlight those who are rich in time, in tradition, and a master at their craft. Some items take months to make, and many items require a group of women working together to piece together the final product. To me, this slow and beautiful process is very similar to the act of harvesting rice or planting your own food. It takes time and intention.
2.What is your process in finding the artisans and items that best fits your manifesto?
Our process is a mix of hunting, digging, and nomadically being a curious cat. We prefer to work with independent artists/artisans who’s pursuing their creative freedom by making beautiful items as they visualized it, and want their work to be seen, heard and appreciated as is. We ask a lot of questions because their personal work is also very personal to us. We ask if we can come over to where they make it, and spend a day with them making their craft. This has to be one of my favorite parts about the job. I learn so much about the craft, their culture and them as an individual which bonds us even more with their art.
3. Tell us your favorite story so far in meeting these artisans.
One of the first things we ever gathered for our shop was leather journals and we’ve always enjoyed speaking with leather artisans about their workmanship. One leather artisan in particular was named “OY”. We met him during one of our motorcycle road trips, and he ended up inviting us over to his workshop to watch him work on his leather goods. We showed up to a beautiful wooden hut he built himself in the midst of the mountains. We sipped coffee, talked, as he worked and blasted his playlist of 70’s rock and some good ol’ reggae. The vibe was incredible, and Aaron ended up leaving with a pair of custom made leather moccasins!
4. What have you learned about “creativity” from such humble “makers” who are not in it for money or fame but for the love of the craft itself?
We’ve learned the simplicity of loving your work, and how it can nurture your soul and can even be therapeutic at times. They don’t go in it with a 5 year business plan,do lots of market research, nor watch the clock. They put all their pride and time in their work and it shows. It truly is humbling to have met such talented artisans who are happy doing what they love, living simply and being rich with time. Because before meeting them I never thought working, therapeutic, and being rich with time could ever be in the same sentence.
Thank you so much Charmie! This hurried life and the famous idea of instant gratification in the Western world can be incredibly exhausting at times. Living simply and doing what you love is a worthwhile goal for all of us. Check out New Crop Shop.
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