Teak woodwork from Thailand feature of show and sale

Teak carvings from the Lahu hill tribe people of northern Thailand have travelled a long way to make an appearance in Chase.

The exotic artwork and furniture made its way to the small Shuswap community in seven shipping containers. On Friday, it will all be on display and for sale in a hay barn, specially set up for a grand opening show.

Teak Roots is a business for Chase ostrich farmers Vic and Donna Calvert and developed through a partnership with a businessman and humanitarian from Thailand.

Dr. David Narracott, originally a dentist from Zimbabwe, came across the talents of the Lahu tribe three years ago after he moved to Thailand.

He said he saw a chance to improve the lives of those people and also create a business opportunity. As well, he said, he is enthusiastic about bringing the Lahu works to Canadians.

Narracott, who lives in Chase in the summer months, buys the carvings from the Lahu families and, along with the Calverts, resells them through Teak Roots.

Ten percent of the proceeds will go to a rural Lahu orphanage where 25 children are cared for.

Donna Calvert, who has visited the community, is equally excited to show off the goods, which range from small carvings of owls for $10 to intricate totem poles that are almost priceless.

"It's just jaw dropping, the work they have done," she said. "There are many really stunning things, like a teak root table that is so gorgeous."

Narracott said what amazes him is the end result of work on one piece of wood, such as a totem pole with four layers of carved horses.

"You just ask yourself, how can they do that?"

He said that particular totem pole is three dimensional and took the carvers 15 months to complete. Narracott also works long hours on the furniture and artifacts, ensuring they are finished for longevity.

The show and sale will offer exotic carvings, furniture, antiques, wall hangings and unique pieces.

"Most of it is pure art," said Calvert, although the furniture is practical as well.

Narracott said some of the bigger pieces would be perfect for the lobby of a business or hotel, while others work just as easily in a residential setting.

The opening runs from noon to 7 p.m. at 6203 VLA Rd., in Chase. After Friday, people can view the works by appointment. Narracott can be reached at 250-679-8315 or 250-253-0769.

Narracott, who is also a member of Chase Rotary Club, has also convinced his club and Kamloops West Rotary to work with the village of Baan Mae Hak Pattana on a long-term project to improve the lifestyle of its people.

Narracott said he believes in self help, so while the villagers will define the goals and contribute the labour, Rotary members will supply funding and expertise.

The clubs have already helped set up a dam to provide irrigation water and the next goal is to provide a system for local drinking water. There is also a plan in the works to build a community centre.

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