Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cambodian Artisans Craft Fair

This morning, we struck out for the Angkor Handicraft Fair right after breakfast.  It was the 5th and last day for this annual event, so I prepared myself for sparsely stocked booths and leftover merchandise.  Instead, we discovered we’d arrived a bit early and many of the booths were still setting up.  We had to go around the booths two or more times to make sure we didn’t miss anything, which thrilled me, but didn’t exactly get Gordon’s blood stirring (oh dear!).   Let me just say this: Women go out to shop.  Men go out to buy.  And I was there to shop.  After the second loop ‘round, he left me to ‘shop’ and went across the river to sit and wait and Rosy’s.  I rest my case.
We’d been to the same craft show last year, so I had a good idea of what to expect.  This year there were a few more tents, about 35 in all, mostly with silk (woven, batiks, soft and ‘hard’ (natural?) fabric, scarves, clothing, purses, etc.), and a variety of ceramics, jewellery, basketry, quilting (yes, quilting!), painting, wooden ware, sculpture, and gemstones.  Unfortunately, the Cambodian Knitters Guild was not there this year.   All the products were excellent quality, and few items were out of our budget range.  The best thing is that every item was Cambodian made, not the ‘Made in China/India’ stuff they flog at the markets in town.  
Beautiful Quilts

Many tents with amazing products

Demonstating silk production

These guys just beg you to be taken home

Gorgeous art work

Custom tailored silk clothing
Ready in 24 hours

Choosing was difficult.  I was seeking unique items at good value.  I’d unwittingly set out with only $50 in my wallet, and wasn’t counting on there being any Visa machines on site.  I bought a few lovely gifts (you’ll find out who the lucky winners are when we get back).  Of course, I got a few special things for myself….a funky purse and bracelet made from recycled magazines, a smoky quartz Buddha pendant wrapped in silver, and a silk scarf (yeah right, like I need another scarf!)  The sales lady wore this fabulous silk scarf wrapped around her head (as did her sister and her young daughter).  They all looked soooo beautiful… and, naturally, I asked her to demonstrate how to wrap the scarf around my head, and had to buy one so I could look gorgeous too!  
I’m not sure I pull it off as well as they do….  Gordon thinks it kind of makes me look Romanian (like a gypsy), and he says all I need is my crystal ball.  I’m betting that wasn’t meant as a compliment, but hey, there’s a man for you!

On second thought, maybe he's right......

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