Dec 31, 2018

Wins Worth Celebrating and a New Year's Wish

Lalaina, Lead Artisan, Attendee of Santa Fe 2019!
Lalaina, Lead Artisan, Attendee of Santa Fe 2019!

Dear CPALI friends,

It's been a great year for CPALI and we wanted to thank each and every one of you for your support and encouragement! Below are a couple of highlights from the past year and the plans that we are exctied about for 2019:

2018 Highlights

Better, Faster, Stronger

With your support, the team in Madagascar produced over 2/3rds more products this year than last year, expanding livelihoods for artisans and farmers alike! The project is now sourcing silk from 6 different sites, improving designs and developing new skills. We didn't expect the team to be able to grow so much between last year and this year, and we could not have achieved this incredible growth without your support.

Sheehan Gallery Exhibition

The Sheehan Gallery at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington offered us a chance to showcase our work and spread awareness about Madagascar and the environment through our Requiem for a Rainforest exhibit. The exhibit ran all fall and showcased artisans from the SEPALI team and friends working with our silks, photography and information about the environment in Madagascar. 

Big shows help us ramp up our designs and get 'market ready'

Participating in big shows like the NY NOW Gift Show certainly put the pressure on. This year, our design workshop in Madagascar focused on learning what it takes to prepare a professional product line for a show. The team did a fantastic job and the show helped us connect with new customers, experts and advisers that will help us get the team in Madagascar on its feet.

Big Plans for 2019

In spite of all our success, the team still very much needs your help to reach their goals. 

Bring Lalaina to Santa Fe

Our Lead Artisan and director of the women's group in Madagascar has been selected to attend the 2019 International Folk Art Show in June! The show provides education programs for budding artisans and has served as an important "jumping-off" point for many groups. Lalaina won a scholarship for her time in Santa Fe, but we still need to get her to the capital and we would love to extend her stay here in order to connect her with other amazing artists and buyers!

Strengthen our farmer networks across Madagascar

As the CPALI program grows, we are also diversifying. The moths and their host plants differ by region and habitat. This map shows where we source our silk in each region. In each new farm community that joins our group, we train a group of lead farmers in no-kill rearing techniques for their particular species of silk moth, host tree growth and maintenance, cocoon harvesting and processing, and environmental awareness. It is important for us to be able to check in with those groups each year, see how they are doing, and provide resources and training! Please help us visit them this year!

Support Native Raffia Nurseries

The SEPALI team worked out the kinks in growing raffia palms at our demonstration site this past year and now it's time to bring the farmers on board. Help us bring nurseries into the SEPALI communities and get involved in the native raffia program!

Raffia Workshop for Madagascar

CPALI artisans are starting to take on designs of their own and one of the materials that they are interested in exploring is raffia. They are just in time, too, because many of our new buyers are interested in raffia as well. Help us host a local raffia workshop in Madagascar to share traditional knowledge, designs and techniques for raffia and create something new!

Make SEPALI Strong

CPALI is acting to “level the playing field” for talented and courageous artisans and farmers who are willing to try something new. We provide access to resources, equipment, training, and development in the local language and we help the SEPALI team develop the infrastructure to communicate, ship and establish relationships with international buyers - all with environmental consciousness at the center of our project.

We hope that you will continue to help us support Madagascar! Thank you so much and happy holidays!

All the best for 2019,

CPALI Team

SEPALI Office Artisan Workshop
SEPALI Office Artisan Workshop
Ta'na'na Silks at Tucker Robbin's AD Booth
Ta'na'na Silks at Tucker Robbin's AD Booth
Sheehan Gallery, Walla Walla, WA
Sheehan Gallery, Walla Walla, WA
SEPALI Team on the Beach, Madagascar
SEPALI Team on the Beach, Madagascar
Oct 2, 2018

New Ta'na'na line on display at the NY Now Show

NY Now Show 2018
NY Now Show 2018

August 12-15th

The NY NOW gift show in NYC is one of the biggest wholesale shows in the country. This year, with 20,000 buyers and over 2,000 exhibitors, the show offered an exciting opportunity for us, but also an ambitious deadline.

Our participation this year was a continuation of the Aid to Artisans program that we attended last summer at NY NOW. Mamy and Lalaina, program directors and lead artisans in Madagascar, attended the program last summer and received training, expert advice and feedback about our products and market preparedness. The team took their training to heart in preparation for this year’s show. In spite of an unexpected delay in our annual design workshop, the team kicked it into high gear, trained new artisans, secured cocoon sources and pulled it off. The box of our showcase materials arrived just one week before the show.

This year, as part of the Artisan Resource branch of the show, we built our own booth with design consultant Docey Lewis and spent the next four days showing off our best products and making new connections with customers. We used the show to launch our new Ta'na'na line of silks and raffias. 

The show was a great success! In addition to generating new interest in our program and our brand, we made hundreds of new contacts and were able to take a number of sale orders right on the spot. The team in Madagascar has been busy with back to back orders ever since. A big thank you to our supporters and to the wonderful team at NY NOW.

The new orders are putting healthy pressure on our teams in both the US and Madagascar in order to take the business to the next level. Mamy and Lalaina are working with their first distributor partner this summer, Sanjo Silk, a company in Canada that will be importing our undyed papers. In addition, the team is training artisans in new techniques, mastering quality control and troubleshooting the task of managing a stream of orders while keeping one eye on the future. On the US side, we are following up with contacts, processing orders and streamlining our communication systems. It is definitely an exciting time!

Looking Forward:

If anyone is in the Washington state area, the Sheehan Gallery at Whitman College is hosting a beautiful exhibit on Madagascar all this fall, including work by CPALI, textile artwork and photo displays. The show will run from August 28th to December 7th. You can find more information here.  We would love for you to stop by!

Dyed Cocoon Display
Dyed Cocoon Display
Raffia Wall Hangings
Raffia Wall Hangings

Links:

Sep 17, 2018

Mamy to organize Bombyx mori farmers

Cocoons arriving from Antananarivo faremers
Cocoons arriving from Antananarivo faremers

Hanta, the head of the farmer’s groups that produce Bombyx mori cocoons for SEPALI Madagascar, is moving to a new area too distant from the farmer’s villages to allow her to continue her work. Hence, Mamy is traveling to Antananarivo next week to find someone to take over the farmer’s organization and hopefully expand the program.  

 If you remember, in a previous email, GG donors suggested that since people living in communities in the Antananarivo area already eat Bombyx moripupae, and because the SEPALI Madagascar team was using cocoons the silkworms produce, it makes more sense to continue and try to expand the program than to close it. 

 In addition to organizing the Bombyx farmers and purchased the farmed cocoons, Hanta also organized other individuals to remove the pupae from the cocoons before sending the cocoons to Maroantsetra. Those that removed the pupae are paid in pupae and translated those insect earnings into money by selling the pupae in local markets. What a great way to great way to increase insect pupae availability to local communities as well as continue to provide a market for cocoon producing farmers. 

 We greatly appreciate your input and advice and hopefully our next report will describe a new Bombyx director, new communities and local pupae markets – stay tuned!! 

Links:

 
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