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

Woman with handmade butterfly barrettes made by artisans from the Peruvian Amazon

Reunions and new friends at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival 2022

by Campbell Plowden July 20, 2022

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RETURN TO THE GREAT BLUE HERON FESTIVAL

RETURN TO THE GREAT BLUE HERON FESTIVAL

by Campbell Plowden 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."

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ON THE ROAD AGAIN TO THE ROMP FESTIVAL IN KENTUCKY

ON THE ROAD AGAIN TO THE ROMP FESTIVAL IN KENTUCKY

by Campbell Plowden 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."

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THE QUEST TO MAKE A NICE CHAMBIRA PALM FIBER MARKET BAG

THE QUEST TO MAKE A NICE CHAMBIRA PALM FIBER MARKET BAG

by Campbell Plowden July 10, 2022

Meeting with artisans from Puca Urquillo to design a market bag with chambira palm fiber...

"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."

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CHICHA DE PIJUAYO FESTIVAL IN BRILLO NUEVO

CHICHA DE PIJUAYO FESTIVAL IN BRILLO NUEVO

by Campbell Plowden July 10, 2022

Joining the Chicha de Pijuayo festival at Brillo Nuevo was a wonderful experience after visiting this village since 2008.....

"I was still humbled by my fumbling debut (joining the dance) so I watched a few more dances until a woman came by, took my hand and brought me to her side in the outer ring. Men did not generally dance with women in this setting, but I appreciated that she patiently helped me gain some confidence to move in time with the others.

During the next dance, I was equally grateful to Javan from Brillo Nuevo who motioned to me with his finger to join him in the middle of the men’s circle. I was far from perfect, but it began to feel more natural to move my feet and start to learn when and how to shake my rattle that artisan friend Jhimi had made for me the day before."

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ARTISANS IN AMAZONAS MAKE HUMMINGBIRDS AND KESTRELS

ARTISANS IN AMAZONAS MAKE HUMMINGBIRDS AND KESTRELS

by Campbell Plowden July 10, 2022

Artisans learning to make a kestrel....

"This bird required the artisans to pay great attention to the details of its colors, beak, wings and talons, and Pablo did a superb job of guiding his charges to achieve high-quality in his or his group’s first attempt to make this bird.  I could see artisans frequently holding up their birds in progress next to each other to try and make them as consistent in shape and size as possible.  Once the main features were done, they all needed a bit of salon magic to lightly trim the “feathers” covering their throat so they didn’t look like gentlemen attending a ball with a fancy ruff."

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RETURN TO BRILLO NUEVO - DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT SWALLOWS

RETURN TO BRILLO NUEVO - DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT SWALLOWS

by Campbell Plowden July 10, 2022

Observing birds going up the Yaguasyacu River toward Brillo Nuevo....

"My ecologist brain kicked into gear wondering why I saw white-winged swallows perched on little branches along the Ampiyacu River and then saw only white-banded swallows doing the same thing once we turned up the Yaguasyacu River. "

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THE BIRDS ON WATER HYACINTH AT NANAY

THE BIRDS ON WATER HYACINTH AT NANAY

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

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THE REAL PAINTER OF PADRE COCHA

THE REAL PAINTER OF PADRE COCHA

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

"Clever had not made the paintings we had got at the malocas, but we were excited to see photos of his work that was even better. I quickly commissioned him to do another set of flower and butterfly paintings for us. I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that his supply of llanchama bark came from Bora people from the Pebas area - the gateway to the Ampiyacu communities we closely work with."

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IN SEARCH OF AN AMAZON DREAM (CATCHER)

IN SEARCH OF AN AMAZON DREAM (CATCHER)

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

Tulio and I visited four malocas in Padre Cocha on one day to look for an original source of Amazon dreamcatchers.....

"Each time I approached a new stall, the girl began a rapid recitation of the crafts: “this is a necklace made with ayahuasca, this bracelet is made with huayruru seeds, this dream catcher is made with chambira.” I thought they might get better results with average tourists if they slowed down their auto-pitches a bit, but I appreciated they had gained enough confidence to try and interact with potential buyers. Many artisans we work with in remote communities are still painfully shy in these circumstances."

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RESET WITH ARTISANS IN SAN FRANCISCO

RESET WITH ARTISANS IN SAN FRANCISCO

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

"Their crafts were truly beautiful, but my best feelings came from seeing how much the artisans enjoyed each other’s company and generously helped each other try to master the details of their bird. This was a dramatic change from the past when the most talented artisans did not want to share their skills - perhaps because they didn’t want to empower neighbors they viewed as competitors selling to a limited number of tourists."

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A DAY FOR RAIN AND A DAY FOR CATCHING CATFISH IN BRILLO NUEVO

A DAY FOR RAIN AND A DAY FOR CATCHING CATFISH IN BRILLO NUEVO

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

A day off enjoying the rain and fishing in Brillo Nuevo.  One quote from a day on the river....

"I could attribute my modest success to different bait and less experience, but why was Exiles striking out completely? Did Brito’s forward position in the boat give him superior access to the fishing meandering below? Had he learned a better subtle way to hook catfish in the Ampiyacu than Exiles in the Tahuayo? There was not enough data for my scientific brain to answer these questions. I got a few big bites, but failed to set the hook in time to bring them in."

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PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES AT PUCA URQUILLO

PROGRESS AND CHALLENGES AT PUCA URQUILLO

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

We briefly stopped in the village of Puca Urquillo to discuss challenges that artisans were facing moving forward....

"The artisans (in Puca Urquillo Huitoto) were enthusiastic to continue our workshops to help them improve their crafts, strengthen their organization and plant more chambira trees. Their main challenge was having an association with over 40 members with only a dozen who were active in trainings and filling orders. The leaders were stumped about how to handle this imbalance."

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JOURNEY TO THE TAHUAYO AND SHIFTING TIDES IN CHINO

JOURNEY TO THE TAHUAYO AND SHIFTING TIDES IN CHINO

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

We have had a long relationship with the artisans from Chino, but I learned that conditions, their need and interests have been shifting over time.  It was time for us to adapt....

"The artisans confirmed they did not want any more trainings to make woven animals.  They would welcome support for chambira reforestation but showed little interest in communications workshops since Dolly was doing social media for them.  One idea with a spark was making better chambira earrings with help from their former leader Estelita who had pushed herself to make high-quality designs. "

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TRAINING BORA NATIVE FACILITATORS FOR ALTERNATIVES TO VIOLENCE PROJECT WORKSHOPS

TRAINING BORA NATIVE FACILITATORS FOR ALTERNATIVES TO VIOLENCE PROJECT WORKSHOPS

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

There's a special energy one feels in an Alternatives to Violence Project workshop when a facilitation team is in synch and the participants connect with every activity. Such experiences are rare in a Training for Facilitator's workshop because new facilitators are usually challenged just to handle the basic mechanics.

The fourth practice group in our workshop, however, blew our minds in their session on Cooperation. They presented their exercises with clarity, led them with positive energy, and ended them with graceful transitions to the next activity. They corrected one misstep in midstream without participants even noticing. Much credit for this group's success was due to the confident leadership from Marianela - a young artisan from Amazonas who recently joined our team.

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PASSAGE TO PEBAS ON THE AMPIYACU RIVER

PASSAGE TO PEBAS ON THE AMPIYACU RIVER

by Campbell Plowden July 09, 2022

Stocking up in the general store in Pebas

"As Marianela sorted through a depleted bin of onions, I learned more about the fine points of choosing a good one from her in five minutes than I had learned in the rest of my life combined. While I make exacting observations about the fine points of woven bird ornament, she showed me how to use my eyes and finger tips to assess whether an onion was too dry or had the beginning of a rotten piece near its top that would spread in a day or two."

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