Lalaina showcases her work at Santa Fe
In the heart of summer in the US and winter in Madagascar (yes, Madagascar sort of has a winter), conditions aligned to create our best season yet.
International Folk Art Market, Santa Fe:
As you probably heard from our newsletter, our team kicked off the summer with the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market and it deserves another mention here since all of you helped us get there! Lalaina Raharindimby, our lead artisan in Madagascar and the head of the women’s group, flew in a week beforehand to attend the IFAM conference. There, she met with other artists, mentors and speakers. She brought our natural dye challenges into the spotlight and troubleshot solutions with artists from Nigeria and India. She made connections, developed new ideas for design and direction, and even volunteered to become a women’s health ambassador for her community in Madagascar. Best of all, the team’s work sold like hot-cakes at the show. She called the whole experience “amazing” and left invigorated with ideas for the future.
Tropical Biology and Sustainable Development Conference, Madagascar:
Back in Madagascar, Mamy Ratsimbazafy, the director of SEPALI, was already ramping up for a conference on tropical biology in the capital. There, he did a presentation on SEPALI and its work in the northeast and networked with colleagues working in similar fields. The Tana-based SEPALI field staff, Ravo and Tsiresy, got to take part in some of the fun as well. Meanwhile, the team in Maroantsetra took on a little leadership of their own and continued to fill orders from afar.
The Next Best Thing: Natural Dyes:
The vinegar-based dyes that we are curretly using have their advantages in terms of color-fastlness and consitency across different materials, but Mamy and Lalaina are convinced that natural dyes are the right direction for SEPALI and could be attainable in the very near future. Thanks to our new contacts from IFAM, they set up a natural dye training workshop in the plateau region and learned plant identification and dyeing techniques specific to Madagascar. The next step will be to adapt all of that information to the project in the northeast and begin to experiment with the whole team.
What’s up now?:
You! While the wonders of natural dyes are unfolding in Madagascar, textile month is in full swing in Portland, OR and SEPALI’s silk and raffia products will be on display all month right here in the US. If you are anywhere near Portland in the month of October, please stop by and check out our new designs. We would love to see you.
Learn more here: https://www.portlandtextilemonth.com/event/sepali-textile-installation-opening-party/
As always, thank you so much for your support! None of this would be possible without you!
Santa Fe Art Festival in full swing
SEPALI team in Tana at the ATBC conference
Natural Dye Workshop with the team, Madagascar
Silk and Raffia on Display, Portland Textile Month
Artists at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market