Don't get me wrong, I'm all for globalization. But when one of my special treasures becomes available through West Elm, it really upsets me...
Years ago, when I was working at the gallery in Hong Kong, I was introduced to a wonderful cooperative project in Indonesia called Lombok Pottery. Here, pottery is created by an entire village. The men dig up the clay from the nearby hills, while the women are in charge of making the actual pots and vessels. Each piece is handmade, without a wheel, created layer by layer, varnished by hand, and then baked in the ground under rice straw. It is a delicate process that takes several days and one that creates pieces that are individually unique and absolutely beautiful.
I know that West Elm is meaning to do the right thing and expose these artisans and their products to a bigger audience, but mass producing them seems so wrong. The success story doesn't always mean that you need to end up in a catalog at $12 a piece (mine was definitely worth every penny more)!
Here is my pot.
Here are West Elm's: