Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday morning at the Country Plaza Art Fair

Big weekend in Kansas City. The 19th annual UnPlaza Art Fair at the KC Art Institute, the 79th Country Club Plaza Art Fair, a Chiefs game (I think? everyone is wearing red) to name only a few. Camera in hand and market boots on, I headed out early to beat the crowds at the Country Club Plaza Art Fair.
roni's market boots

The Plaza Art Fair is considered one of the best in the country. I usually love markets and fairs for the fantastic people watching. I have determined after years of living in KC, the people watching is NOT so exciting at these events, lots of sweatsuits and eating. Not much is left of the old guard anymore on the Plaza. The independent owners of retail stores and restaurants have been slowly replaced by big box stores and restaurants like in much of the USA. But the Plaza is a beautiful place and the Spanish influenced architecture never disappoints.
early morning set up

Favorite art booths 
I am in the process of creating a new category on the loaded trunk for kids, clearly my favorite spots today reflect this focus!

Favorite people
Favorite store windows

It is a beautiful crisp fall like day in KC and this was a perfect way to spend part of it.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


I have been off the grid.  Back from Mexico for almost 2 weeks now cataloging, photographing, describing and doing all of the behind-the-scenes stuff which, while not so exciting and glamorous,  is essential for all these things that help get me planning my next journey. Today I stopped for a moment to read a link to a blog that I love but have been too busy to read: coco+kelley.  I love that she has several new guest bloggers that have infused a new perspective. Yesterday's guest blogger, who hosts her own fantastic fashion blog Fuji Files, chose the Hmong tribe (of the Golden Triangle which forms Northern Laos, Burma, and Thailand) and their amazing traditional weavings and textiles.  
Hmong women in traditional costumes. Photo courtesy of coco+kelley
It is only September but in January I am going to S.E. Asia for a month or so.  I have been on the internet and phone all morning looking for the best fare I can find. I was annoyed and needed a break so I opened a few emails and photos of these amazing Hmong women popped up and I got goose bumps.  I love S.E. Asia. My roots run deep there. I have a brother in Thailand, went to high school in Hong Kong, lived in Taiwan and Japan and have traveled all over. If I ever have to choose a place that I am most drawn it is Southeast Asia: the food, crafts and cultural traditions always call me. As a buyer I don't feel like I have to begin carving the silk road, there are so many talented artisans who are already on it and are thrilled to work with someone as small as the loaded trunk.

Seeing coco+kelley's blog post got me over my annoyance and reminded me why I do this in the first place: to continue my travels and experiences all over the world.

To bring some Hmong traditions into your home, please check out The Loaded Trunk where I have stocked some intricately beautiful Hmong blankets and rare Yao Ceremonial Masks.

Photo's from The Loaded Trunk.

Off to finalize my next travel plans...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Me encanta México

I just returned from a trip to Mexico.  The people, crafts, colorful history, diversity and preparation for the Bicentennial were evident in every town I visited.

I was there for a buying trip for The Loaded Trunk, so my museum time was limited.  As an art lover the "Museo de Arte Popular" in Mexico City is a highlight and one I never miss.  It always inspires me.

This is one of the newer museums, opening on 2006 and is my favorite museum in Mexico City. It is the showcase for Mexican roots, traditions and artisan skills. The museum is housed in a beautiful contemporary space, an art deco fire station that has been refurbished and is full of folk art from different regions of Mexico. The works include outstanding examples of textiles, pottery, woodcarvings, papier mache, paper cuttings, metal work, glass work and more, all displayed over several floors.  The building has a central "glassed-in" atrium that is airy and light allowing many of the galleries to be open and bright. It is the leader of venues for Mexican Folk Art and a must see...
The Atrium filled with kites during a visit a couple of years ago
This visit was on Sunday so all but the 1st floor gallery were closed. Art from all regions depicting historical scenes leading to both the Independence of Mexico in 1810 and scenes leading to the Revolution in 1910 were displayed, each with an historical story and time period of the event. If you do not read Spanish, I suggest you bring along a friend who does, as I did!

Photos by Roni at the Museo Arte de Popular
I only wish I had more time to be there for what I am sure will prove to be a fantastic celebration!
Photo by Roni in Morelia of some Bicentennial decorations

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mexico City Market Day 1

I love my job. It's hard work being out here hunting and tracking, but someone has to do it!

No, it really IS hard work. In most cases, the day begins with me not being able to speak the native language. I feel my way through by checking prices, quality, getting ideas on how I could use something. It's easier for me because my philosophy is to buy local and in small quantities, and to choose things that reflect the culture—both traditonal and modern. In other words, I wing it. I buy what I like, and at the end of the day, hope it all makes sense. I usually haul everything to my hotel room and lay it out like you would if you just got a Christmas or birthday haul. Then I look at it, photograph it, and try to remember the stories that I learned about how each piece was made or where it was from.

Carlos, my friend and fellow hunter. Sweet shrimp soup and chili's 50 pesos.
I'm feeling pretty good so far on this second day in Mexico City. Job well done, Roni. Off for a Margarita!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Timeless and Distracting

I love the the blog Style Court, by Courtney Barnes. We all have our favorites and sometimes reading them causes me to procrastinate in a big way.

Case in point: I am leaving tomorrow for a 10-day buying trip to Mexico and haven't packed yet. I'm frantically responding to emails, mailing packages, working on new marketing plans, and meeting with a friend who will oversee The loaded Trunk while I travel in search of new treasures.

I get an email that Courtney posted "Timeless". It struck a chord with me, as many of her posts do. She refers to a picture she has saved for years of Ricky Lauren on her horse wearing an RL fringed jacket. I stopped everything I was doing because I have a version of this jacket and still wear it! So I pulled out my boots and jacket, took some pictures and sent them to her. (Okay, that's one hour I shouldn't have stolen. Moving on.)
Detail view, framed photo of Ricky Lauren on her horse, part of a desktop tablescape in the Lauren house as pictured in Ralph Lauren.

I sent Courtney a short email, knowing it would make her smile, and smiled myself when she added this to her post:
Update: 9:52 p.m.
Roni Jaco, owner of the textiles, art and housewares shop, The Loaded Trunk, did hang on to her authentic Ralph jacket. Smart woman. (Thanks for pulling it out of the closet Roni!)
I'm so new to this world of blogging, but I'm already cherishing relationships like this. I am certain they'll become timeless! Timeless procrastination with benefits.

Adios! See you when I return from Mexico. If you'd like to follow along, come join me on Facebook.

Have a safe and wonderful Labor Day weekend.