by Campbell PlowdenAll artisans from native communities in the Peruvian Amazon use a wide variety of roots, fruit, leaves and bark to dye the fiber of chambira palm trees to weave and sell beautiful handicrafts. These materials come from herb, shrubs, and vines planted in backyard gardens and from trees that grow naturally on river banks, fallow fields and/or old forests. Artisans can usually access enough dye plants from season to season to create the full range of colors, but two successive years of strong rainy seasons flooded most of Brillo Nuevo and other villages close to the river level throughout the northern Peruvian Amazon. These inundations killed many dye plants or damaged them so much that they may take up to five years to recover. On June 20, CACE helped the artisans of Brillo Nuevo to create a dye plant garden in higher ground so future floods would not prevent artisans from collecting an adequate supply of dye plants to keep weaving their handicrafts. The Brillo Nuevo curaca (traditional leader) Manuel Mibeco kindly allowed the village’s artisans to convert a small plot growing yuca (also known as manioc and cassava) to this garden that would be available to all of them in hard times.
The process began by harvesting (and peeling) the roots of maturing yuca plants. The artisans then laid out lines to plant seeds, seedlings and rhizomes of key dye plants vulnerable to flooding including guisador (Curcuma longa), sisa/cudi (Arrabidaea spp. ?), jangua, and achiote (Bixa orellana).
Below are some other photos of preparing the dye plant garden and dying chambira fiber.
See the CACE video Mishquipanga – a Peruvian Dye Plant to see how one dye plant is harvested and processed.
See the CACE video Artisans of the Ampiyacu for a visual and musical overview of craft-making by Bora and other native artisans of the region.
ALVARO AND NATUSHA - AMAZON FIELD VOLUNTEERS I had been in Peru for just over a week when I got a message via Facebook Messenger from Alvaro De Ramon Murillo saying that he and his partner Natusha Croes were on an extended trip through South America. He asked if I could tell them a way they could visit a native community off the normal tourist track. I wasn't sure what to think at first, but after many conversations via Messenger, Email and eventually in person, I invited them to join us for a 5 day trip to the Ampiyacu knowing that they would be able to take high quality photos and videos of our mission with Camino Verde to plant rosewood trees in the Bora native villages of Brillo Nuevo and Ancon Colonia.
It was their first trip visiting a village in the rainforest, but in spite of bugs, rain, technical challenges, and Alvaro's ninja photographer look, they collected some awesome sights and sounds of our work and made fast friends with many kids in the village. I will share some of Alvaro's great portraits of children with animals when I figure out how to open .ARW images on my PC.
They are now back in Spain preparing for school, exhibits and performances.
DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING MY FISH Campbell Plowden saw this cat outside a floating gas station by the dock in the town of Pebas - the place where the Ampiyacu River enters the main Amazon River in Peru.
TAMBOPATA: WHERE FOREST CONSERVATION AND OPPORTUNITY MEET Check out this great story about our close partner Camino Verde featuring its founder (and CACE board member) Robin Van Loon. https://news.mongabay.com/2018/04/tambopata-where-forest-conservation-and-opportunity-meet/?utm_source=Mongabay+Email+Alerts&utm_campaign=721512751d-mailchimp_peru_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e1ea8b5f35-721512751d-77138285