I was at the FTI Taguig market last Saturday and noticed a stall with second hand ceramics apparently sourced in Japan from hand-me-downs, thrift shop purchases or frankly someone else’s discarded household items (garbage) that had been packed and shipped here to be resold. I figured these items must have arrived well before any radiation issues would have the slightest of impact, so I decided to look through the offerings. I have seen this vendor several times before, but never stopped to take a closer look. I ended up buying 16 ceramic plates, bowls and cups, all for less than PHP1,000 ($22) in total. I felt like I had hit a minor jackpot!
I have started to collect modestly priced ceramics for the primary reason that they are used as “props” on this blog. The plates and cups add interest to the photos, and once you have a critical mass of pieces, you can mix and match for interesting juxtapositions and texture. But I am loathe to spend too much money on what is a one-off piece, and will, for the most part, simply be used for photographs. The PHP50-100 range per piece keeps me happiest. And I seem to have an affinity for the various colors, shapes and glazes of Japanese ceramics. My collection is slowly growing, and at some point, I will have enough to throw a dinner party with dozens and dozens of mismatched ceramics on the table, hopefully contributing to a visual feast, besides the food served that evening…
The jumble of goods on offer meant you had commercial ceramics along with more artisanal pieces… I simply picked pieces based on whether they appealed to me or not. Colors, shapes and texture were the primary considerations and I ended up with several interesting pieces.
Bargain heavily at this shop, as prices tend to be cut by 30-50% with haggling, and particularly if you are buying several pieces. I managed to get plates that were quite stunning for less than the cost of a plastic plate at Shoemart!
One of my favorite finds is the off-white free-form plate on the right in the photo above.
Here, a selection of previous purchases, from more “chi-chi” sources such as the Art in the Park series where potters from amateur to famous status sell their pieces for PHP500-2,000, with a portion of the proceeds funding charitable causes. These plates and bowls cost between PHP600-1,500 each, and all are “seconds”, and while possessing interesting shapes and hues, aren’t that much more appealing than some of the 16 pieces I purchased at the market up top. So keep an eye out for useful and attractive second hand things… you might just surprise yourself with a purchase or two. My other favorite ukay-ukay destinations are the Book Sale shops in malls with old magazines and books — I can buy several dozen food magazines per month! :)