In the course of our Artisan Facilitator Training in Amazonas, each small group was tasked with making one kind of woven bird with chambira palm fiber. The heart of the process, though, was having each member of the group become the group's faciliator for 20 minutes at a time before passing the role onto the next person.
While acting in the facilitator role, we asked each person to put aside their own work and focus attention on the others by following 5 steps...Explanation (use words to explain how the artisan could do the next stage of their craft), Demonstration (show the artisan with their hands how to perform the action they were explaining), Observation (intently watch how the artisan applies what the facilitator just shared), Comment (give specific feedback to help the artisan carry out the desired action), and Affirmation (Compliment the artisan on their technique and/or effort).
Many artisans were understandably shy at first about approaching a more experienced artisan thinking they would have nothing valuable to share with them. Over time, though, artisans at all levels realized that they all had things they could teach to and learn from each other. A beautiful degree of mutual trust and companionship gradually built within the groups.
Wenceslau showing bird weaving technique to Maria
Exiles showing woven bird in progress to Bora artisan
"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."
"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."