Being “Under New Management” can mean many things, and at Absolutely Fabulous it means that Sally Brooker, the co-owner has sourced new and unique products from as far and wide as Java, India, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Sally Brooker became the proud new face of the very well known ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ in Caymanian Village in April of 2010 and she immediately set to work to source and bring new furniture, accessories, art and ceramics to the island.
Absolutely Fabulous is proud to launch the Carrol Boyes range of functional art from South Africa. Cast in a fusion of metals-pewter, aluminium and stainless steel, the skilfully crafted sculptures will be a necessary addition to your home, dinner table and surroundings. Carrol started making her own unique pewter cutlery 18 year ago in her basement, but she quickly had to search for a bigger work space as the demand for her art grew. She looked to the rural community of impoverished Shangaan people who lived in the Limpopo Valley. ‘
The Shangaan had an age old talent for three-dimensional design through their tradition of woodcarving, so they were a natural choice. Today the factory employs approximately 350 people and each of them provides for up to ten family members. Every item in the range, whether pewter, aluminium or stainless steel, has been lovingly hand finished and crafted, contributing to the beauty & uniqueness of each item. Carrol’s passion and love for South Africa is evident in her work and many social projects she initiates bear testimony to the ethos and culture of the company. Sally of Absolutely Fabulous is the proud new ‘Cayman Islands Agent’ of the Carroll Boyes Range.
Next stop is Zimbabwe; here Sally has sourced the unique furniture of Neale Morgan. The Very Different Furniture Company was founded in 1990 by owners Neale and Samantha Morgan, with the vision of creating furniture whose heart and soul is Southern African.
Within The Very Different Furniture Company Neale the designer, Samantha the marketing director and twelve cabinet makers have combined their skills to create unique and limited edition furniture. Thirty to forty pieces a year. Neale uses hardwood timbers indigenous to Southern Africa: teak, panga-panga, ironwood, rosewood, mahogany and kiaat.
Wood is sourced from reclamation yards and Forestry Commission approved timber mills, he also uses old reclaimed teak railway sleepers. The design philosophy of The Very Different Furniture Company? “Reality has limits – imagination is boundless.” Place this on the Southern African landscape, with its cultural, social and natural richness, and furniture design becomes a thrilling journey – the inspiration at the heart of The Very Different Furniture Company.
Also from Zimbabwe, well known artist Colleen Myberg’s fabulous ceramics will be gracing the shelves of Absolutely Fabulous. Colleen’s ceramics are hand thrown and hand glazed resulting in each piece being different and unique. These reflect a multitude of influences and styles – from African inspired colours of the savannah plains, age old symbols of fertility and prosperity, to the diversity and dynamism of the 21st century with all its modern lines and style.
All her pieces are hand-made on a farm in rural Zimbabwe where she lives. A team of ten local men and women have gained exceptional skills in key departments of the manufacturing process; hand throwing, glazing and operating kilns to specific temperatures. Each member of the team lives within the studio premises with their family, creating a close-nit and motivated community, proud of the unique ceramic pieces they help produce.
Sally wants her clients to know that all the suppliers of her products give back to the community; peace of mind then for the buyer of the Old Java Reclaimed Teak Furniture range.
With Old Java furniture tradition meets technology and the philosophy to produce fabulous hand crafted furniture which combines quality and value. Java’s ancient forests were a source of wood to artists and craftsmen who constructed magnificent and intricately decorated homes which date back as far as the 19th century. Today parts saved from dilapidated homes are crafted into dining tables, coffee tables, benches, chests of drawers and bedside tables. Even magazine racks and children’s toy boxes feature in the wide range of furniture.
All products are finished by hand and are sanded, stained and waxed many times to achieve the antique look. Many of the craftsmen start at a young age with skills passed down from one generation to the next. They use chisels, adzes and wooden mallets only. Of course the furniture is not only made from teak alone. Imported leather, cured by hand is also intricately woven by hand to compliment dining room chairs. The Java line also offers hand woven natural fibre (banana trees & rattan) furniture. Combined together, the teak and rattan make for beautifully contrasting pieces.
Sally is very passionate about the environment and believes in an old American Native proverb, ‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.’ Through her suppliers in Asia she partners with a non profit foundation, Trees4Trees, which was established by responsible timber product manufacturers and their customers to empower local communities through partnership reforestation initiatives. The Company partners with local communities to renew the environment through reforestation and education.
The foundation distributes free seedlings; their program provides technical guidance on best forestry practices. Outreach programs assist the communities and schools and improve livelihood.
Be sure to make Absolutely Fabulous a place to source gifts which would suit an extensive range of recipients. Corporate gifts, wedding registries, Christmas or even if you simply need to find the perfect ornament or piece of furniture to compliment your home.
Absolutely Fabulous has a quote from the Dalai Lama on its postcards. It reads:” A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life”. Sally has certainly succeeded in acquiring art and design which would bring beauty and comfort along with peace of mind, knowing that you did your part in helping companies which reach out a helping hand.