How Earth, Wind & Fire came about
The daughter of a socially involved former Burmese Ambassador, MiMi Tin Tun Raschke, largely grew up in the West and is at home in both cultures. Based in London, she feels the strong pull of her roots and is determined to give exposure to the little known Burmese culture and handicrafts.
Although there has been an influx of merchandise from Asia into the West, it is often highly commercialised and no longer true to the Asian spirit. Wishing to support the traditional and independent craftspeople of her homeland, MiMi believes that there is international demand for their high quality products and that Burmese arts, crafts and philosophy could be an asset to Western culture. So, she set up Earth, Wind & Fire.
The company utilises its own network of autonomous craftspeople and traders. We refuse to get involved in sweatshops and make an effort to adhere to the principles of fair trade. When the business first started the aim was to support local communities in Burma, by committing to donating a percentage of profits to local charities. We regularly contribute to various causes in Burma.
Although Earth, Wind & Fire predominantly supports Burmese craftspeople we now also support many other cottage industries from all over the world and you can find their quality handmade products in our small and friendly home and giftware boutique, which is located at 72 Heath Street, Hampstead, London NW3.
In the modern world we rush from one stimulus to the next, rarely stopping to appreciate the contemplative beauty of living. This philosophy is in total contrast to what Earth Wind & Fire expounds. We understand that, for artists, time cannot be a factor; hence mass production is an anathema to them. Their priority is craftsmanship and focussed attention to detail. Each of the unique artefacts you will find in the shop is the result of painstaking efforts and skills. Our aim is to provide a very personalised service to our customers and we offer a friendly and hassle free experience.
Our Range of Products
Along with our own designs, we have now expanded our network of suppliers and designers, who hail from all over the world. We have a collection of very unique items which comprise of useful decorative goods for the home and personal use. We specialise mainly in Burmese artefacts such as rattan, lacquerware, traditional tapestries, soft furnishings, sculptures, puppets, jewellery and a range of fashion accessories.
Rattan grows abundantly in the Irrawaddy delta and is a strong and supple water plant. Over the centuries natives of this region have refined the art of weaving and shaping household objects from this natural material. It is one of the main forms of income in the area and the objects made from Rattan are renowned for their strength and durability. Before use the stems are carefully selected and prepared to ensure that it is free of all insects. Only then is it cut, treated and shaped into the fine items we
Lacquer has long been one of Burma’s most prestigious national crafts. Monarchs used to present lacquer artefacts as gifts. Burmese lacquer- ware was traditionally used as receptacles for food, hot and cold drinks, clothing, cosmetics, flower arranging and many types of storage Unfortunately in these modern times it has gradually been replaced by porcelain and plastic, but is still used during important Buddhist ceremonies to present food to the monasteries.
Lacquer is light, waterproof, hygienic and durable. The natural material can be applied to virtually any surface: plain or carved wood, bamboo, paper, horsehair, fabric, even metal and stone. It is decorative, can be painted, moulded and carved. When polished, it takes on a flawless sheen. The creation of lacquer ware requires great patience, due to the lengthy drying process of multiple layers of the natural lacquer sap. Depending on size and design complexity, it can take many months or even years to finish each object. By contrast, wooden and rattan items usually take up to three months to complete.
Traditional weavings, embroideries and appliqué textiles; puppets; jewellery; hand blown glass; Subtly adapted ethnic tribal clothes and footwear, scarves, handbags, ties, cufflinks and many more.
Earth, Wind & Fire also stocks a variety of modern requirements. We are happy to advise our clients on integrating our artefacts in modern interiors, and to accept design commissions for individual pieces.