My birthday rolled around not too long ago, so I went to the National Arts & Crafts Fair to pick out my present. Dozens of stands offered their tantalizing wares that included hand woven rugs, hand painted scarves, furniture with inlaid mosaics, and ceramics, to name just a few. The presence of extraordinary artists and artisans demonstrated that the Tunisian craft scene prospers. As I wandered around, I kept mental notes on possible choices. It was difficult. Of course, I could have bought several things, but the challenge was to buy just one perfect gift so as not to add more “stuff” to the multiplying“stuff” at home. An olive wood vessel with a painted turquoise border caught my eye: the pronounced designs in olive wood always mesmerize me. A copper bowl with a cutout design had a modern flavor—very appealing. An elegant ceramic table lamp was a contender as well.
But finally, just as I struggled to make a decision, I spied it and I instantly knew. My birthday present patiently awaited me in the last stand of the fair. It was love at first sight…sigh…ceramic pots that could be used for plants.
These two pots are made in Nabeul, the ceramic capital of Tunisia. They have an “old” look to them, yet the final glaze contains something like glitter and they sparkle in the sunlight. Because I don’t do this type of work myself (I'm resisting taking up ceramics) and because of the quality of the product, I was willing to pay the asking price.
Ok, ok, I bargained just a bit on principle—it’s expected. The merchant asked for…(drumroll)…$30 per pot and accepted $27 after bargaining. The first pot I picked out had a chip in the rim and when I pointed that out, the merchant said that was part of the “old” look. Hmmff. There’s a difference between a distressed or shabby chic look and getting bumped around in a truck. So I picked two others.
The cactus was in bloom the day I photographed. What appears to be wadded up paper in front is actually a piece of cement that got imprinted from a cement sack. My first mosaic pot and a twisty piece of grapevine wood seem happy in the mix.
Hmmm, maybe I should’ve bought the whole lot of pots, but, now I have something to look forward to next year.