COLLECTING ethnic and unusual items has been a lifelong passion for Fran Welke, owner of Fremantle store Bellissimo Bower.
A bit like the shop’s logo, the bowerbird, Ms Welke is attracted to shiny, beautiful objects and has travelled the world to find interesting items.
“I’ve always, even when I was a teenager, liked things from other countries and things that were handmade. The first present I got from my parents was a Persian rug.”
Ms Welke says she has recently returned from a busman’s holiday in Japan where she found all manner of curio including bone-inlay furniture, repurposed gates, Polish amber and vintage kimonos.
Situated on Stack Street, Bellissimo Bower is a treasure trove of clothes, artefacts, textiles and rugs – and everything in between.
“Everything has a story you know, I can tell you where everything is from,” Ms Welke says
“And some of these people have been friends for many, many years,” she told the Herald.
Originally from Melbourne, Ms Wekes says some of her suppliers have stayed with her since the early days, when she first moved to Darwin and opened the store Blazez.
She moved down to Freo in 2003 and from 2004-17 ran Shedwallah, before taking a year out and reopening the store as Bellissimo Bower.
by ALEX MURFETT
6 Stack St, Fremantle
Open Thursday-Sunday, 10am-5pm