From Albania, for Tokyo, with love

We told them :”we have it dark blue”

They said “Lovely, but no thank you” and nodded.

So we said: “ah, we can do it in light blue”

They said “lovely, but no thank you”

So we said: “how would you like to be?”

They answered simply:

“take the red of that cushion,

the purple of the other one,

mix it together, that is how we would like it to be”

“I see…I’ll tell the weavers,

I’m sure they will do it nicely”

Then another one said:

“Take the purple from that cushion,

the green from the other,

and the red from that one up there,

mix them together!

That’s how I would like it to be”

“I see, we will tell the weavers,

we’ll see what they can do…”

Then they sang a song that sounded like “Mah Nà Mah Nà”

We all asked “Japanèse?”

“No, Italian!”

Apparently a song written by an italian for a swedish film.

You can check the story out here:

If you are hanging around in Tokyo and urgently need a carpet for yoga or the Friday prayer, here’s the address where to find one:

8F 5-7-17 Minami- Aoyama, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 107-0062 Japan
Enquiries at +81 3 3409 5423

If you feel Tokyo is a long trip away, just give a call or e-mail

Po! Paris, +33 1 4205 8008,

ABC New York meets John Felici by Shari Gab

 Check out what Shari has to say about Po! Paris on Abc’s blog

Balkan Beauty: The Symbolic Pillows Of Paris Po!


ABC Meets John Felici:

Using locally available materials, such as recycled coffee bags and grain sacks, these pillows are hand-embroidered by female artisans in Albania, providing economic sustainability for the community and empowering the women of Tirana.  “There is no one way to design,” one of three founders of Po!, John Felici, tells Reveal.  “To look for inspiration happens naturally when you don’t know exactly where you come from or exactly where you are going.  In this project, the cushions, design ignited through the people I met.”

Read the rest by shari monique gab on and

po! Paris


Heroes, unexpected, from the land of eagles

He called from the cabin of the truck, Gogol Bordello singing it all out in the background.

The soul of the balkan man is complex. He lives to achieve heroic deeds. He can’t help it, he needs an impossible mission or he will not survive the burden of time. That’s when someone like Alban ends up being chauffeur.

An impossible job these days. Crossed the Adriatic sea and the Alps, drove though Germany tugging a load full of Albanian treasures- and his bodily envelope, packed with feelings he will never understand. He is  a superhero, a bit like this poster hanging behind his seat in the cabin, with the addition of a weak spot he’s ignoring and anyone else can see.

We meet at customs nowhere in particular.

He’s tired, his burning cigarette hanging from his dry lips. The sound of Gogol Bordello’s pains is still yelling angrily all that is wrong with him without mentionning what it is and when it happened.

His gentle smile shines through the curtain of fatigue and God only knows what else. He’s made it to France, misty and cold France, the freezing drizzle decorating his hair with tiny pearls. He opens the back of the truck and this is what he has brought, making it look like someone from his family, his sister or even his mother, has made with their hands. There is always something personnal about his truckloads. This one he is particularly fond of.

“Bukur!” he says admiring the carpet he could imagine of having crawled on as a baby exploring that bed of roses – it was  cold tiles instead.

He let’s a sigh escape under his wiskers, brushing his trousers trying to shake off the memory of some ancient pain off his delicate knees, and turns to a pile of cushions: Shikoni Ketu! Fantastike! Acoma Obama më Xhacsoni

Bidonat mini-bar!

Me Karrikë perqafoj…

më Llamarina! Bukur po? Per clubi, locali…

Plot më Karrike!

Most of this load is leaving for our distributor in Sweden,  in Brazil, Abc in New York…Alban a bit sorry I’m not keeping it all for my family. He would like it to know he did something for me personally. Those Americans, he’s happy for them, but he has never met them.

We share these thoughts over a Turkish coffee contemplating the crowd gathering for the friday prayer in the mosque opposite our studio. The pilgrims look respectfully at the pile on the pavement, wondering if it is an act of God and where this is going.

Then, with no more words, he climbs back in the drivers cabin and he’s off on a new mission, Holland this time.

Po! Paris

Hedgehogs and news from the girls up North

When Drande let’s you in she pulls you in. Energetic, that’s something you can say about her.

Usually I am treated like an Albanian. A seat, a coffee, a raki and a series of questions about my family, children and ancestors.

This time no one is around, just her husband playing around with a hedgehog he found in the field.

That’s when she feels like to…well  she’s not amused.

They are not sweet words she is saying there in Albanian.

Makes her forget the sacred rituals.

So after “How are you, the family etc” we get down to work.

The workshop that was built when Anthropologie first ordered Nathalie’ cushions is not quite ready yet.

Another order and it will certainly be. Windows, a door and perhaps even a light bulb.

In the meantime it’s new looms she is buying so we can experiment on new ideas

And this is the carpet they just finished-at last.

Now a coffee. One sugar.

And put that beast away!