A view of the famous Buddha statue overlooking the ancient hill capital of Kandy

Sri Lanka's beautiful hill country features rice terraces as seen here, and is where the world famous Ceylon tea is grown.

Serendip founder Sarah Baldwin (centre) on a visit to an SOS children's village in Sri Lanka. To sponsor a child in Sri Lanka or anywhere else, go to

www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk

Sri Lanka is a beautiful island just off the south-eastern tip of India. It has been a stopping point for traders between Europe, the Middle East and East Asia - especially China - since ancient times. Noted also for its spices and gems, Sri Lanka has a rich heritage of arts and crafts developed over the centuries by foreign trade and often featuring Buddhist imagery.

THE MEANING OF SERENDIP

Sri Lanka has been known by many names in the past. The ancient Greeks called it Taprobane, the Romans knew it as Selan, the Portuguese and Dutch referred to it as Zeilan, later adapted to Ceylon by the British. Arab traders in the middle ages called it Serendib, and the Persian variation, Serendip, gave rise to an ancient Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip, whose heroes were always making accidental discoveries of things they were not looking for.

It is from this story that we get the word serendipity, first used by Horace Walpole in 1754. Whether you have stumbled upon Serendip by chance or design, we hope you will find it a pleasant surprise. The range of handcrafts from this mystical far eastern land will continue to evolve, so do please keep coming back to discover more treasures.

ABOUT ME

Launched in May 2014, the inspiration behind Serendip began many years ago when my family lived in Sri Lanka for a few years. We were based in Colombo but travelled extensively around the island, visiting many of the ancient monuments and temples steeped in local culture and history. I loved the beautiful arts and crafts products which I saw everywhere, and now I want to bring some of those skills and traditions to a wider audience.

Sarah Baldwin, owner, Serendip

Contact me at: info@serendipcrafts.co.uk

With thanks to:
Dennis Candy - location photography and logistical support
Jayaratne Dimbulmada - research and craftsmen liaison

A lacquer artist using traditional hand-driven spindle for making lacquer pots

Lacquer is applied to the wooden pot using the friction of the hand-held spinning bow

When the lac is dry, further layers of colour are added. An intricate design is then scraped into the layers of lac, revealing the different colours.