Made with love

These handmade items are all the more meaningful when you find out more about the stories behind them.

EVIL EYE FROM TURKEY

Souvenir stores across the country

Known as a nazar boncugu, this is a traditional amulet believed to ward off misfortune or injury. They are often hung in homes, offices or cars, or sometimes even as an accessory. Even if you’re not superstitious, this makes for a cute gift for friends, letting them know you have their wellbeing in mind.


WOODBLOCK PRINTS

Kyoto Handicraft Center, kyotohandicraftcenter.com

Japanese woodblock prints – also known as ukiyo-e–flourished during Japan’s Edo period (1603-1868), often depicting geisha, sumo wrestlers and kabuki actors. Over time, the subject matter began to include landscapes and nature, and even helped in the development of the European Impressionist movement. Add a personalised touch to your ukiyo-eat Kyoto Handicraft Center’s woodblock printing workshops.


LEATHER GOODS

36B Jalan Jaya Darma Bantul, Yogyakarta, kaula-leather.com

What’s better than souvenirs bought from a shop? One you’ve made yourself, of course. At Kaula Leather Workshop, you can go for a one-day class to learn how to make a belt or passport holder. If you’re staying longer, opt for the six-day workshop where you’ll learn how to make a bag and a wallet from scratch, allowing you to delve deeper into the intricacies of leather-making: making patterns, cutting it, dyeing it, hand-stitching and more.


HANDMADE SOAP

Saltwater Atelier, saltwateratelier.com

The soaps made by this Singapore-based soap crafter are so pretty you’d be loathe to use them. At first glance, these 100% vegan soaps look almost like precious stones and, because they are all made in small batches, no two soaps will look the same. They are also free from nasties like SLS, parabens and preservatives. Best of all, for every soap purchased, 10% goes towards a children’s charity in Singapore. If you’ll like a custom order – say for a birthday or a wedding – they are able to do so, with a minimum order of 10 soaps.


REPRODUCTIONS OF VINTAGE MAPS

Collective Memory, facebook.com/collectivememory.vn

Know of a history buff? You’ll want to get them a beautifully reproduced vintage map from Collective Memory, which brings together some of the most amazing brands and products from Vietnam under one roof at a store in Hanoi. These maps are reproductions of maps during the French occupation of Vietnam (1884-1954). No detail here has been overlooked – even the bold and subdued tints alike have been faithfully reproduced.


GAUDI-INSPIRED SALAMANDER FIGURINE

Gaudi Barcelona, gaudibarcelonashop.com

You can’t travel to Barcelona without encountering the works of the great Antoni Gaudi – he’s everywhere! However, nowhere is his work more flamboyantly displayed than at the Parc Güell. His signature multi-coloured mosaics adorn the park, with the signature salamander standing guard at the entrance. Pick up a souvenir of this iconic artwork at the Gaudi Barcelona shop, or better yet, sign up for a workshop where you can learn to make your own Gaudi-inspired mosaic.