Red Buffalo Trading: Beautiful Homeware and a Great Cause
I remember spending a couple of minutes watching how the artisans wove bags in Cholula, Puebla. I was trying to understand how they choose the colors for the weave and how they create that beautiful pattern of geometric shapes and intertwined threads. They had no sketch, plan, or a picture to see color palettes. One of the ladies was just sitting down, talking to her friend as she pulled random threads from her colorful apron. In a few minutes the bag was beginning to come together and the vibrant contrasting colors started giving character to this new and unique piece.
I always remember that magic every time I see a handmade product. I think about how it would look in my home, but also the huge amount of cultural value and meaning with which it will fill my days.
When Corlie contacted me a few months ago, I could not help being fascinated by her story of adventure. Originally from South Africa, she moved to Asia with her husband in 2010 in hopes of traveling for a while and maybe working a little bit. Soon they fell in love with the beauty of Southwest Asia and found many unexpected opportunities in Yunnan Province, in southwest China.
Corlie is an amazing person with a giant heart! One of the reasons she decided to start her blog and online store was to fund her volunteer work in a rehabilitation center for disabled children and adults in Kunming. She recently also took on the task of raising funds to purchase rice threshers for the Getu community. The rice harvest work is hard and tedious, I never really thought about the amount of hours it takes to fill one bowl of rice until I read her article showing the long and tiring process that involves collecting a single grain. Incredibly, not long ago, I received an email from Corlie sharing photos of the day she delivered the first two rice threshers, it was really inspiring!
When the package arrived, I saw a box with a cute red bow and adorable white dots everywhere, I could not wait to open it, I had to see what was inside. A beautiful hand dyed tablecloth, handmade coasters, a pair of woven bamboo baskets, some adorable applique hearts from Northern Laos and an amazing traditional Japanese noren made with natural hemp fabric.
This past weekend I took a few days to redecorate the dining room, and although the Japanese noren is traditionally used to separate a service area from the rest of the house, I got the idea to hang it on the wall as art. I loved it! It makes me imagine that the moon is in the dining room.
The tablecloth has a delicate pattern made with tiny stitches and hand dyed flowers. The coasters are very pretty and functional, they are made with hemp cloth and are decorated with pictures of small clouds linking to the name Yunnan, which means south of the clouds. For years I wanted to buy some awesome coasters, so I know I ‘ll use them a lot. The baskets are handwoven from flat bamboo strips and are ideal for storing small things. In one I put the sugar packets for coffee and in the other one coins, so I don’t leave them around the house. Those adorable hearts that I shared on Instagram, are appliques made of cotton fabric, cut into patterns and decorated with embroidered details. They are certainly a stunning form of textile art and an original accent to any area of the home.
The products arrived well packaged and inside individual transparent bags. It also contained small notes with the history, an explanation of the process and some care tips that happen to be quite useful.
Many of the things in my apartment are modern and colorful, but the mix of all the styles creates a fun, global and bohemian chic environment. I’m excited about my new dining room, I feel that it just received some personality and lots of color!