According to the new favourite agenda that Cait got me, yesterday was National Thrift Shop Day. And if you know us, we love a good thrift shop session. So when our favourite coffee yoda, Jen, asked me to join her on an expedition, there was only one reaction. Time and date please.
When she’s not supporting sustainable and ethically produced coffee in Cambodia and across the region, Jen also collects more than her fair share of gorgeous, cheeky, and second hand ceramics. Nearly all of them are from the Japanese second hand shops which dot Phnom Penh and have become more than popular among expats to decorate their abodes with. These places are treasure troves. Like any other illicit contraband, it gets addictive. You could easily lose an hour or two scouring these places for easterly treasures. Plus Japanese porcelain and pottery has been practiced for millennia, so you never know when you’ve literally got a treasure in your hands. Often times, the backs of each piece will bear the signature of its potential famous maker.
And Jen takes these treasures up a notch. I discovered this at the last Swap Sabai, the fabulous little flea market that pops up in my community every few months, where Jen had a table selling these gorgeous wares. Part Etsy, part garage sale, and always a great way to get to know your neighbours, I stumbled upon Jen’s little collection of hand-upgraded ceramics at their last event.
By hand-upgraded, I mean that Jen carefully and quite cheekily paints and decorates Wedgwood and Japanese porcelain pieces with a little pop-culture finesse and social commentary. If a piece looks a little too colonial, Jen will infuse a little irony in there. With a dry sense of humour, each piece hits it perfectly on the nose. Too many pretty flowers? Jen will add in a few bugs. They’re perfect to serve your biscuits and tea on, or to have hanging in your dining room for guests to giggle at.
And I can’t wait to get myself some pieces this weekend!
If you’re in Phnom Penh, you can find Jen’s goodies at Swap Sabai, this Sunday, August 21 at Crossfit Amatak from 10am-2pm. Come get your ironic pretty things!
All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use. Cait+Tiff are not liable for anything that decides to break on your journey home from Swap Sabai.