Wander Imports had a serendipedous beginning. While buying a pair of Turkish slippers for a friend, Dartmouth native Bob Smith happened upon Elaine Hill…who happened to be looking for a partnering gallery owner for a new adventure of her own. “Here we are 8 years later,” says Bob, who is now apart of the 4-person owned and operated “Gallery 4” in Tiverton Four Corners. The gallery has become a merging of worldly art, including Turkish textiles imported by Elaine Hill and Alix Cambell, wire-designed jewelry by Sue Freda, and Bob’s beautifully indigenous collection aptly named, Wanderer Imports.
Weaving through the three room portion of Gallery4 that makes up Wanderer Imports you’ll find decorative arts and furniture from parts of China to Southeast Asia, an accumulation of Bob’s travels to the region. After working in the New York filming industry for years, Bob developed a sharp eye for creative and quality craftsmanship, so when it was time to leave the business, he was prepared. Part of his job as a fim-maker involved traveling to East Asia, and there he became familiar with Shanghai and Beijing craftsmen. Post-film-career traveling brought him right back to the same dealers, as a longterm buyer. Bob says people recognize his taste and seek his out his imports. Customers travel from Philidelphia, Boston, and New York just to browse the ancient/modern selection because, like Bob, they know a good thing when they see it.
One of the most splendid things about Bob’s inventory is it’s decorative integrity. The pieces have years of history and weather worn into their skin, yet blend perfectly with contemporary furniture and decor. One piece seeps just the right amount of flavor, culture, and charm into a space.
Bob now travels once a year to China, but as a wanderer, he makes an effort to visit and uncover new territory with each trip. His travel roster has included Tibet, Burma, Vietnam, and Syria, and grows steadily as he continues to journey. Most recently, Bob’s been to Thailand collecting paintings for Wander Imports’ current exhibit. Paintings done by elephants will be on display through September 5th, and if you haven’t heard of this animal competency, you should stop by Wanderer Imports and see it for yourself. Thanks to Bob, extraordinary works from across the globe have a home in 4 Corners. Just the right place, and just the right time.