Handmade Souvenirs in Shanghai

August 28, 2017

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“Made in China” tends to have a negative connotation, but these four designers are smashing that stereotype. Their Shanghai-inspired goods can be bought directly, or found at boutiques throughout the city: check out Madame Mao’s Dowry  as well as Select 18 to pick up some of these pretties.

Pinyin Post. Image courtesy of the venue.

Pinyin Press began with a line of Sarah Armstrong’s illustrated note cards and tote bags. The totes have a cult following, and you’ll see them on shoulders all over the city. Sarah’s collection has expanded and now includes tea towels pretty enough to frame, coasters and bone china mugs emblazoned with symbols that are recognizably representative of China, such as dumplings, baozi (steamed buns) and zodiac signs.

Cukimber. Image courtesy of the venue.

The woman behind Cukimber, Kimberly Wong, creates handmade earrings and necklaces in wavy, organic shapes. She sources the thin metal from a local vendor and picks up beads and other supplies here, in New York and on her global travels. Custom pieces start from 300元 (around US$50) and take two weeks to make, but can be shipped worldwide.

Paper Tiger. Image courtesy of the venue.

When Lucy Young moved from New York to Shanghai, she was surprised to find there was nowhere to buy wrapping paper. The idea for Paper Tiger, then, was simple: create and sell beautiful, sustainable gift wrap. The designs are inspired by what Lucy sees living in Shanghai, but she also works with other artists, like Beijing resident Steffi Hanson, who designed the Peking Opera print. The paper is so pretty that it makes a great gift on its own — be sure to pick some up when you visit Madame Mao’s Dowry.

Jonas’ Designs. Image courtesy of the venue.

Working out of a studio in northern Shanghai, you’ll find Jonas Merian of Jonas’ Design repurposing used local products to build unique furniture and home goods. He turns colorful biscuit tins into speakers, transforms kettles into ceiling lamps and upcycles bright rotary telephones into clocks. His designs, which you can purchase by visiting him at his studio or by swinging by Select 18, are a great way to grab a quirky piece of décor and take a little bit of Shanghai home with you.

About The HUNT Shanghai Writer: Sophie Friedman moved from New York to Shanghai with two suitcases, no plan and speaking not a word of Mandarin. Years later, she’s traversed Asia, learned to love squat toilets and has written extensively about her adopted city.

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