One World Bazaar contest brings custom piece from Java to lucky winner
People & Places

One World Bazaar contest brings custom piece from Java to lucky winner

To celebrate 40 years of bringing handmade artisanal products to Ottawa, One World Bazaar offered a unique giveaway last fall: a free custom gift, made personally for the winner by one of the One World Bazaar international merchants.

“Our business is so unique in that we work directly with the artisans themselves, we’ve gotten to know them, we’ve seen their businesses and families grow alongside our own. We wanted the giveaway to provide a window for customers to experience this maker to market relationship,” says Aneeka Bakker of One World Bazaar. 

Contest winner Pia Gamberg was a familliar face around the Manotick barn that houses the annual sale. “I used to work on the road and stop by the bazaar when I was in the area and had a few minutes to spare, even just to admire the vast diversity of things they displayed,” says Gamberg. “It really was a highlight of my year and a great way to pick up some unique Christmas gifts in the days before online everything.

Pia Gamberg with her new pouf outside of the One World Bazaar barn. Photo by Shauna Wiseman

“When I stumbled across it last fall it was like a blast from the past for me. I had completely forgotten about it over the years and actually drove home to drop off my friend in Kemptville that had other commitments and drove all the way back to shop. When Anneka surprised me at work weeks later to let me know I had won their big grand prize I was very surprised. To be honest I thought I had just given my Covid contact tracing info, not entered a draw!”

The whole process was made even more unique due to the pandemic. But Whassap saved the day, with photos and instructions shared between Gamberg and the artisan, Lilis Diah of Aman Handicrafts in Jogjakarta, Java. Diah creates fun, functional furniture and decor items using woven seagrass, which is a byproduct of rice production. 

Gamberg communicated directly with Lilis Diah in Java to brainstorm on colours and other details.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the process was how easily it all came together. Gamberg and Bakker spoke about the possibilities, including the colour palette of Gamberg’s home and some planned renovations. 

Bakker recalls: “As soon as she mentioned a pouf, I immediately thought of Aman Suyitno and Lilis Diah of Aman Handicrafts, as we’ve been buying really beautiful poufs from them for years now. I sent over the colour swatch and it just so happened that Lilis had the perfect colour in stock!” 

Adds Pia: “It truly was a wonderful experience of this local resource for items from all around the world. And I got to support an amazing artist overseas and added a wonderful piece of furniture to my home!”