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  • Steve Padden (Portable Painter Designer & Founder)

Treasure - February Edition

Red Ink Paste in Tiny Ceramic Jar I bought this item on a trip to Hong Kong, in the Jade Market. I was very attracted to its size and shape and the unexpected pleasure of the intense red pigment inside. It was only later that I realized that it was designed to ink a carved Chinese stamp seal (chop.) These seals have been used for centuries in that part of the world as an essential of daily life, for everything including personal banking. Some years ago, a good friend in Taiwan had a soapstone seal made for me, with a carved lion motif and a simplified signature chop on the base. It is one of my prized possessions, surrounded by many good memories.

Antique Turquoise and Silver Wristband

I took a road trip from Ventura, CA to Albuquerque, New Mexico in the 1980s. I stopped at several impressive locations along the way, from the Grand Canyon to the Anasazi cliff dwellings in Canyon de Chelly. It was a very memorable journey.

I discovered this particular treasure in a small, dusty market square in Albuquerque. It was ringed by native American artisans with their wares displayed on colorful Navajo blankets. I spent quite a while looking at the wares and must have looked like I wanted to buy something, but didn’t see anything that really spoke to me. Eventually one of the merchants directed me to the blanket of an older gentleman who apparently had not had much attention from the tourists that day. His work was not like most of the other turquoise and silver jewelry that I had seen. One item really jumped out at me; this wristband. I had never seen anything quite like it. I enjoyed its simplicity and the large turquoise stone with the colors of earth and sky. It reminded me of the “blue marble” view of the earth from space: That was still a stunning image, from space program only fifteen years earlier. Needless to say, he made a sale that day:)

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