I FREQUENTLY SHOP while sitting on the couch and watching TV, looking at products from all over the world, ah the convenience of the internet. Recently I have spent a lot of time searching for an outdoor three metre wooden bench with a back, to use with the concrete table for the Fernlea piazza area.
All the searching overseas and even in Auckland to no avail! Finally we found in Tony Gilmour, owner of Bespoke Furniture, at the Mangawhai market just a fifteen minute drive from Fernlea. In just ten days of giving Tony the measurements and rough design he had the bench made and painted, and this weekend he delivered it. What made working with Tony is great is how he texted and sent images as he constructed the bench to check that we were always happy with what he was doing.
While thinking local the Hobbit and I often go to the Smashed Pipi Gallery in Mangawhai Village, which we did this weekend. The gallery has all locally hand made pottery, glass, jewelry, wood, textiles and floral art containers. Really gorgeous stuff.
We are thinking of getting a pottery wall hanging piece of Kowhai which is the New Zealand national flower.
We are going to call one of the guests cabins Kowhai and so think this wall hanging would be perfect in the cabin. The other guest cabin we are planning to call Flame Lily, which is the national flower of Zimbabwe, the country I come from.
We have asked the owner of the Smashed Pipi Gallery to let us know if her creative artists could make a wall hanging with Flame Lilies, which we would hang in the other guest cabin. It will be very exciting if they can.
We are slowly acquiring a lot of bespoke pieces and artwork at Fernlea, starting with the awesome mural we have already had done by a local artist. I have already written a blog about the graffiti wall CLICK HERE.
The lesson to me… start local and then only when I have truly exhausted the search for local services and products look else where. When we are up an running I am really going to put a massive emphasis on finding all the produce we use from local artisans, from soaps to oils to wine and everything else in between.