A modern take on traditional craftworks

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Every year, following the harvest, Vietnamese farmers become artists.

According to tradition, they put away their hoes and scythes and gather in workshops with friends and family. Together, these communities take up hammers and knives and begin to craft fine handmade items from local resources using everything from bamboo to silver.

In some cases, whole communities are formed around the mastery of a single product. In others, the product has become synonymous with the village itself. Thai Binh Province's Dong Xam District is famous for silver products, while the craftsmen of Hanoi's Bat Trang Village are renowned for their ceramic items.

The practice nearly died out during war-time austerity but it is making a comeback now.

Nowadays, the Vietnamese are eager to own traditional handmade items. Mosaique Decoration is one of several companies looking to promote these products. A workshop up north supplies traditional handicraft products to stores throughout the country.

HANOI

Mosaique
22 Nha Tho St., Hoan Kiem Dist.

Mosaique Flagship Hanoi
6 Ly Quoc Su St., Hoan Kiem Dist.

HO CHI MINH CITY

Mosaique Vincom Saigon
19A/B2 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton St., Dist. 1

Mosaique Saigon
98 Mac Thi Buoi St., Dist. 1

HOI AN

Mosaique Hoi An
61A Phan Chu Trinh St.

As the gift-giving season rapidly approaches, consider a stop in at one of Mosaique Decoration's local outlets. The company deftly melds traditional aesthetic with modern design elements and provides a one-stop shop for gift shopping.

Mosaique Saigon also features a collection of furniture, home decorations, and women's clothing.

Thanh Nien Weekly checked out Mosaique Saigon at 98 Mac Thi Buoi Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1.

As the name would suggest, the stores offer a wide and diverse selection of handmade products derived from traditional materials - everything from buffalo horn to wood lacquer. In keeping with the shop's aesthetic theme, many of the products have been accented with modern design flares - tasteful additions of fur, leather and velvet.

Sleek lighting elements are the shop's specialty. Mosaique Saigon sells lamps and shades which cast a soft light through silk, beads and bamboo. Crafted in the shape of peaches, bird cages, and tables, they make an alluring addition to any living room.

"I bought five silk, bamboo and beaded lights here," said Nicolas Milliot, a French diplomat in Vietnam. "A Mosaique light creates a warm and stylish corner in the living room and bed room."

The dining room selections feature chic utensils like their silver coffee filters (around US$23), chopsticks made from wood and buffalo horn (from $20 for a set of 10 pairs), bamboo placemats (around $20 per set) and spoons crafted out of bamboo and buffalo horn.

Also on offer are delightful $80 taffeta scarves embroidered with lotus flowers and butterflies to bring a rural touch to your living room.

For the bedroom, there is collection of silken quilts (between $100-150, depending on the size), velvet or silk cushion covers with peacock feather decorations (ranging from around $20 to $28).

The second floor of Mosaique Saigon is taken up entirely by ladies' wear. The selection features modern ao dai (traditional dress) to wear with jeans, silk dresses (around $20 each) and a wide range of jewelry carved from mother-of-pearl, handmade beads, and buffalo horn.

In preparation for the coming season, the store is stocking up on Christmas lights, beaded bookmarks and holiday candles.

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