Storied Pieces for the Traveler at Heart
Some objects tell a story when you hold them, and Katrin Bruce, founder of Water Tiger, has a knack for procuring those very pieces.
“I buy what I buy because I have such a love of what craftsmen did in the past, so much passion and intention was imbued in every piece, recycling the past, finding forever homes for these ancient treasures,” Bruce told Hand/Eye. “My love is the old and unusual, walking into massive warehouses in sweltering heat is my first love! It’s my passion and I’m lucky enough to be living it.”
That passion translates to a collection that reflects the venerable and elegant Oriental narrative. “The people I work with are collectors, they travel around China and India collecting from even smaller collectors. A lot of them believe its preserving and keeping alive their past even if they are finding their homes away from where they were made.
The tools used were very rudimentary and the skills are 100’s if years old and even today these same skills are used when they repair these treasures.”
Bruce reflects on the path that brought her to Water Tiger. “I have thirty years of background in sourcing product, so this was applied to Water Tiger. I expanded my initial destination to include, India, Indonesia, France and Turkey and this year will be travelling to Morocco to see what I can find.
I have been sourcing vintage and antique pieces in Asia for the past 25 years. I started with antiques from China and then expanded into India, Indonesia and Turkey.
I started Water tiger around fifteen years ago. I started with importing a few pieces from China, that was after spending a good part of the year studying the market to see what was missing.
A few pieces quickly turned into full containers and my business was born. It has primarily been selling wholesale, but I have recently expanded into retail.
My passion is vintage and antiques pieces, I rarely get involved in manufacturing unless it is for commercial jobs like the one I’m currently working on... a hotel group in Europe.”
What’s next for the entrepreneur and her company? “I have dreamt of taking my love and passion that is Water Tiger to the USA for many years, I feel the time is right now as I'm am receiving many enquires weekly from US based customers. I want to expand Water Tiger into the USA and would also love to see Water Tiger in London.”
Water Tiger’s beautifully curated pieces will be exhibited for potential buyers at NY NOW’s Artisan Resource February 3-6 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.For more information and to buy products, please visit: www.watertiger.com.au.