The whiskey tumblers you see above are not marble. Or glass. Or, heaven forbid, ivory.
They’re cow horn. Ankole cow horn, to be precise. (Yes, it was harvested humanely.)
Ankole is a cow common to Uganda, and those whiskey tumblers were made by a special artisan in Uganda who works with Rose & Fitzgerald, a company that just moved to Southern California and slings wares that combine coastal California’s energy with Ugandan materials and craftsmanship.
R&F was started by wife/husband duo Courtney and Laren Poole. The couple moved to Uganda for the latter’s work with Bridgeway Foundation, and it was there that they began to collect the beautiful objects and art they sell in their store.
The Pooles source all their wood pieces from a Ugandan carpentry workshop they were introduced to by a British ex-pat. Courtney started buying goods from them; one day she asked if they could make something she designed. They obliged.
You’ll find two types of wood in the store: the first is Elegon Teak, as seen in this hand-carved tray. Great for the coffee table or serving some apps.
The second wood is Mugavu, a thick hardwood, as seen on this this muddler, with hand-painted white accents that elegantly complement the richness of the wood.
After a while, Courtney started amassing so many goods that she wanted to start selling them to people back home. She and Laren converted their guesthouse into a workshop and several of the woodworkers from the collective came to work for them. “I think there’s something special about making products together,” says Courtney.
Ankole is a major source of beef for the country, and until recently, the horns were mostly just thrown away. Courtney met R&F’s resident Ankole artisan at a market in town and began to work with him on household objects, like this lamp. If you look closely you can see that it’s a stack of thinly cut horn that has been meticulously layered to create a tower. They’ve added an Edison bulb to the top.
There’s also the Cow Horn Heirloom Tray, a simple, polished item that would look great on a wood table.
Through her cow horn supplier, Courtney met a brass-worker and began making stunning, Ugandan-style jewelry and accessories. Fellas, take note: good gifts here, regardless of the occasion.
If you notice that an item is sold out, don’t worry. A new shipment of their goods is always en route to the States. Just sign up for the wait list and Courtney will personally notify you once they have what you want.
That’s service with a smile, bwana.