New groups that made macaws, woodpeckers, and cock of the rock made awesome crafts in days 3 and 4. The aracari group greatly improved their colorful birds in their second try.
Francisca Orosco, known to many as Paquita, is the leader of the artisan association in the community of Amazonas that hosted our Artisan Faciitator training. If you saw the video of her singing a song in the Kukama native language, you already have a sense of her joyful energy.
Paquita is also one of the hardest working artisans I know. While she is creative, she is intensely practical in her endeavors to sell crafts to support the education of her biological children and one adopted son.
As our workshop neared its end, Paquita cleared off a large table on her porch and laid out a legion of colorful woven birds, sloths, turtles, grasshoppers, and a stack of diverse baskets it had taken her three months to make.
When I examine crafts in these situations, I exclude my desire to help an artisan from deciding whether to buy a certain craft. My focus becomes assessing if I can sell it with enough profit.
I appreciated that Paquita had five to ten of some attractive crafts that would be a good fit for our online store. Some of these critters were known species. I had to laugh and buy a batch of endearing long-eared purple owls which have not yet been seen in the forest.
It takes time and resources to put a product in our online store, so I don't list many one-of-a-kind lower priced items. I did buy a few unique items like a blue-green hummingbird which we could offer at a fair in the US or store in Iquitos without preparing a perfect photo of it.
I ended up buying over half of Paquita's crafts and gave her at least brief explanations for the reasons I hadn't purchased the others. She accepted all reasons and suggestions with grace.
We took samples of the crafts to some tall plants near her house to take pictures of her with her wares. It's always curious to me that someone like Paquita who has such a ready smile and laugh in normal life has a such a hard time presenting a natural smile in front of a camera. It challenged me to joke with her to help her relax.
It was getting dark when we finished and had to clear the table for other artisans arriving for dinner.
It was fun to learn that that day was both Paquita's and her grand-daughter's birthday!