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Kirsten Zaat's Profile

About

I began collecting antiques, vintage and retro at age 11 thanks to Amber and Sally, two sisters from primary school who introduced me to the wonderful world of all things secondhand. More than 25 years later we remain close friends and when in the same city, we thoroughly enjoy a day’s treasure hunting for wonderful things.

Getting together to treasure hunt these days is not as easy as it was when we were just kids. For the last 20 years I have been travelling the world as a human rights defender working to protect civilians in conflict and in need. Wars, poverty, and natural disasters have punctuated my life’s work. I remain inspired by humanity’s capacity for achievement and hope in the face of adversity.

Wherever I am, I always take time out to treasure hunt with the locals - be it in the secondhand markets of Kabul,…

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  • Born on September 6
  • Joined September 14, 2011

Favorite materials

Pottery, glass, wood, cotton, wool, silver, brass, plastic, paper, leather, shell

About

I began collecting antiques, vintage and retro at age 11 thanks to Amber and Sally, two sisters from primary school who introduced me to the wonderful world of all things secondhand. More than 25 years later we remain close friends and when in the same city, we thoroughly enjoy a day’s treasure hunting for wonderful things.

Getting together to treasure hunt these days is not as easy as it was when we were just kids. For the last 20 years I have been travelling the world as a human rights defender working to protect civilians in conflict and in need. Wars, poverty, and natural disasters have punctuated my life’s work. I remain inspired by humanity’s capacity for achievement and hope in the face of adversity.

Wherever I am, I always take time out to treasure hunt with the locals - be it in the secondhand markets of Kabul, Nairobi and Harare, the antique shops of Peshawar and Budapest, the souks of Cairo, Baghdad, and Khartoum, the flea markets of Jaffa and Prague, the charity stores of Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Amsterdam, or the op shops of Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra.

I have cherry-picked my way across some of the world’s greatest markets, thrift stores, car boot sales, garage sales, swap meets, collectables fairs and dealers shops. Treasure hunting continues to bring me great pleasure. I have so many special memories and so many wonderful things to tell the tale.

Secondhand stuff has a secret life of its own. Character, unrivalled beauty, feeling, nostalgia, quality. It brings its own life-lived into any home that loves and cherishes it. It brings joy to its carer and as part of the circle of life, eventually it moves on, enthralling kin and kindred alike.

New stuff is just so blah. Now days it is almost always made in China sometimes under dubious human rights conditions. Even the better brands have succumbed to churning out inferior products. The days of proud, honest manufacturing seem over. I retreat into the comfort of my secondhand wonderful things - recycled, reused, repurposed – refraining from rewarding a system that reduces objects d’art to mass-produced drab. I do not shop, I treasure hunt. And I encourage you to do the same.

I hope that here at the Secondhand Emporium of Wonderful Things you will find something beautiful to bring into your heart and home. My aim is to share with you some of the wonderful things I continue to find during my travels far and wide. Take one of my treasures home for yourself or gift something special to a loved one and share the joy. Happy treasure hunting everyone.

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