Welcome to the Amazon Forest Store. We have just returned from Peru and will be offering exciting new products every week.

THE QUEST TO MAKE A NICE CHAMBIRA PALM FIBER MARKET BAG

July 10, 2022

THE QUEST TO MAKE A NICE CHAMBIRA PALM FIBER MARKET BAG

Story and photos by Campbell Plowden, Executive Director, Amazon Ecology

About 14 years ago, a few artisans from the Ampiyacu showed us a simple draw-string bag made with chambira palm fiber that someone could use to tuck away produce. It was a good concept, but we didn’t sell many because the designs and quality needed a lot of improvement.

A few years ago, we began a conversation with a fellow Fair Trade Federation member who works in Peru about working with our artisan partners in the Amazon to make an attractive chambira bag that could be used at market or hanging other items. It was a new experience to try and connect people with professional design experience with our partners who had good weaving skills and access to a different material.

Not surprisingly, one challenge became trying to foster accurate communication about the details of the design and expectations of quality with the goal of making a product with prices that satisfied the artisans, the buyer and us. Unfortunately our initial attempts to land on this sweet spot did not succeed.

After the pandemic receded in Loreto, we went back to the drawing board on this product with some artisans from Puca Urquillo. Last October, we discussed a few ideas for loose weave bags, and three groups agreed to make prototypes.

So after staying up most of the night at the Chicha de Pijuayo festival in Brillo Nuevo, I headed back down river on Sunday morning.

That afternoon I met with two Bora artisan groups and one Huitoto group in Puca Urquillo. It was great to see that a few samples really hit the mark, and I placed an order for one design with all three. With luck we will have our first batch of chambira market bags ready for sale by mid-summer.

Native artisan from Puca Urquillo with chambira market bag

A few artisans had also made samples of new earrings and coasters, but transforming designs that worked well on 8 inch diameter placemats to crafts that were only a few inches across remains a work in progress.

Native artisan Lorgia from Puca Urquillo with chambira market bag

I had a quiet dinner with Brito in Pebas and headed back to Iquitos that night on the noisy pongero. This trip to Peru was almost done.




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in News

Woman with handmade butterfly barrettes made by artisans from the Peruvian Amazon
Reunions and new friends at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival 2022

July 20, 2022

Continue Reading

RETURN TO THE GREAT BLUE HERON FESTIVAL
RETURN TO THE GREAT BLUE HERON FESTIVAL

July 20, 2022

"There is no doubt that Blue Heron is a very fun festival.  People come with all manner of colorful clothing, tattoos, and behaviors.  I didn't have any volunteers to help me at this event, so I especially appreciated having good conversations with customers who were interested in our work in Peru and happy to share parts of their life stories.  One memorable regular visitor to our booth was Eric Stayer better known as Bushy Vanderbilt who is a part-time wizard that has won multiple competitions for his well quaffed beard."

Continue Reading

ON THE ROAD AGAIN TO THE ROMP FESTIVAL IN KENTUCKY
ON THE ROAD AGAIN TO THE ROMP FESTIVAL IN KENTUCKY

July 20, 2022

"I appreciated getting to know other neighboring vendors who each have their own fascinating life stories.  Some vendors have built a business traveling to festivals to sell their wares (lots of tie dyed clothing) or services (henna drawings) while others are people with other careers who mostly want a chance to share their creative efforts and make some extra income if they can.  I made a special connection with an artist named Nate who offered to do a sketch of me while we discussed ecology, spirituality, and prisons."

Continue Reading