As each group in the Amazon Ecology sponsored Artisan Facilitator workshop finished its first round, the members placed their crafts in a line on a table.
Each facilitator trainee in turn then picked up and pointed out one aspect of one bird that they thought was very well made. Comments were very specific like, "this beak has a shape that looks just like the one in the photo of the real bird." They then picked up another one to mention one way that craft could be improved. Frequently, these comments recommended using finer pieces of chambira to better capture the fine details of a head, wing or tail.
Yully and I also provided our comments regarding the consistency of the birds made by the members of each group. Three of the four groups had made their first bird well enough to move on to a new species.
The group that made the aracari had been more challenged to match their woven birds to the real ones and each other. I was happy they agreed to try again and have their practice facilitators pay more attention to progressing more in synch with each other.
I took a few examples of the finished birds to the nearby woods and water and had fun photographing them in natural settings. Hummingbird on an orange...cardinal on a leaf....heron on a stump by the river.
Marvelous spatule-tail hummingbird ornament on orange
Cardinal ornament woven with chambira palm fiber on leaf
Yully from CACE discusses finer points of bird ornaments with artisans
"While concepts like punctuality, mutual respect, no put downs of self or others, and listening when someone else is speaking may seem like obvious guidelines to form a positive community, a commitment to actually practice and hold each other accountable to observe these agreements is profound in a culture where showing up late, malicious gossip, and interrupting a speaker are painfully common."
"Artisan facilitators should of course share what they know, but beginning and experienced artisans all benefit by remaining humble, enthusiastic about learning, and committed to encourage and affirm their fellow artisans. So many artisans said that the thing they most wanted to bring back to their communities was this spirit of working in a mutually supportive environment."
"Both men and women wore garb made with bleached llanchama tree bark painted with graphic figures from Bora clans. Several wore headdresses made with the feathers from macaws and parrots. They discussed the importance of nature and craft-making in their culture and then launched into a lively dance where the men chanted and pounded sticks into the ground to the rhythm of moving around in a circle. Visitors joined the undulating lines to share the vibrant energy."