Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shop Talk: What The FOLQA!

When I travel there are a few things that are important to me.  One of them is to support young local artists and designers. So wherever I go I make it a point to purchase something that is unique, created by a local talent, and has some kind of societal or economic implication.

While in Budapest, Hungary, while trolling around the old quarters to experience the exquisite watering holes called Ruinpubs, I came across a little design store in one of the bars.

It was unusual.  Because usually by that late hour, shops were closed.  The shop was like in a house, and the bar was set up in the front yard.  Everyone there was young.  The energy was intoxicating.

I spoke to the 20something shop assistant.  She said that there were only 4 design shops in Budapest. (I almost gagged because I don't even think Singapore has one).  These shops were not cheap but they carried the work of some of the most talented young product and style designers.

I was immediately drawn to the men.  Sorry, I meant little wooden men, dolls really, from a collection known as Folqa.  On the box, it reads Souvenirs that Hungarians can be proud of.  That also spoke volumes.

My first entry into Budapest airport was incredible.  There was a sense that the people had a genuine optimism that in spite of the challenges that were working against them, including corruption, they felt that their country was on the brink of something great.  They were proud of their heritage.

So that line did it for me.  I wanted a man of wood.  Seriously.

The dolls came in a series of characters, each representing an aspect of Hungarian culture.  There was the Wrangler, the Outlaw, the Splitter, the Thatcher, the Herdsman and the Potter.  Each was gorgeous in the designs, all hand made by the way, and each came with his own background story.  They weren't cheap by any standards so it had to be just one.  It was hard to choose.

The shop assistant and I started to talk design, and life in general.  The pride of being Hungarian was overflowing.  But beyond that, we spoke about spirituality.  And she said that everything she had in her home meant something to her, much like the way I set up my place, and that the energy that she brought into her life mattered, even from household decorations.

With that, I bought Mr Potter.  No, not Harry!  This is the Potter's story:

"The Potter - The Focused"

"The typical artisan of Mezotur, they say, is the quiet, introverted craftsman, working his wheel, staring blankly into space.  But inside, his mind is racing with thoughts of function and form, bouncing back and forth at a dazzling speed...Only when his art, born of clay, takes shape, do you understand - all the world is a jug, and we are merely motifs."

I identified with him because he is creative even when it is not so obvious.  What is important is what is going around inside his head.  It is a constant state of flux to balance two opposing qualities and to generate something that has meaning.  No one may appreciate the quietness of a creative person, but that does not mean he is not creating.

This little man gives me so much pleasure on my bookshelf.  I see him every time I have my meals in my dining room.

The shop assistant was right,  the energy this man sends out is wonderful.  I am grateful for the wisdom of a 20something proud Hungarian and for the opportunity to interact with her.



Anonymous said...

Mr Potter looks happy. No wonder he radiates a positive vibe. The other wooden men look a little angry...

Jo :)

SR said...

YAAAYYYY you read it! Well you asked about Just a Thought...now I have the platform! Fashion blog next.....please tell all y our friends :-) im so excited about this!