While the unexpected death of an elder at Brillo Nuevo forced us to postpone completion of our artisan organization building workshop there, we were able to meet with a large group of artisans before we left the village for the next workshop farther down the Ampiyacu. We presented our ideas for the special group of artisans who would commit to make 200 crafts for us in six months in return for certain benefits and assured them that they could split this responsibility with another artisan family member or colleague if they weren’t confident they could meet this commitment by themselves (see details about this program in A New Opportunity for Committed Artisans).
Artisans in this group would be expected to make a significant number of chambira bird ornaments since these are our best-selling products, but they could also meet their target with our orders for woven butterflies, belts, guitar straps, hot pads and other crafts. While the opportunity to earn a steady income, learn to make new crafts (like woven dragonflies) and gain other benefits through this program was interesting to many artisans, meeting the craft-making goal still seemed very high to many. Other artisans were reluctant to commit to this program because they can sell at least some of their crafts to other buyers for prices which are higher than we can pay. We were happy, however, that a few very experienced artisans expressed their willingness to try this program while we would continue placing orders with artisan associations.
After the meeting, Yully reviewed crafts delivered by a number of artisans who had made both bird and butterfly ornaments. She paid artisans for the ones which met our high-quality standard, gave templates to the butterfly specialists to make more ornaments and barrettes, and distributed orders for more crafts to people ready and will to make more.
Most of our orders were for actual wildlife species, but it was encouraging to see that a few artisans have continued to experiment making their own animal creations. Misael has dramatically improved making bird ornaments in the past few years and developed a colorful kind of hummingbird which we like to say “has not yet been found in nature” which has been attractive to buyers in both Peru and the U.S.
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