Have you ever wondered how tassels are made? OK, me neither. But when I found out about Morrison Polkinghorne, an Australian artisan living in Cambodia who hand-makes his own tassels and trimmings, curiosity got the better of me. Bric–a–Brac is the studio/shop/bar/hotel that Morrison runs in Battambang – and it might just be one of my favourite creative spaces in all of Southeast Asia.
Set in a beautiful four-story heritage building in central Battambang, Bric–a–Brac stocks an eclectic edit of vintage odds and ends, with a few familiar labels such as Penh Lenh thrown in. When I visited back in May, Morrison told me that he had spent 18 years travelling around Asia before moving to Cambodia (including more than 50 trips to Myanmar!), and the evidence of his adventures (and his passion for handmade items) is splashed all over the shop floor.
The real joy of Bric–a–Brac is the sheer volume of tassels and trimmings on display. Many are antiques, but most have been handmade by Morrison and his staff for his label Passementeries. The colours; the textures; the shapes… My preconceptions of tassels as boring little afterthoughts added onto textiles has completely changed!
There is one specialty loom on the shop floor where you can see bullion fringe weaving in action. The equipment, the process and the unusual story of how Morrison got involved in the niche business of tassels and trimmings are all quite incredible. Soon I’ll be sharing an article that I wrote about his creative process for The Kindcraft; but for now, here are some photos I took while poking around Bric–a–Brac…