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Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia

by Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Lalaina showcases her work at Santa Fe
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
Santa Fe Art Festival in full swing
SEPALI team in Tana at the ATBC conference
SEPALI team in Tana at the ATBC conference
Natural Dye Workshop with the team, Madagascar
Natural Dye Workshop with the team, Madagascar
Silk and Raffia on Display, Portland Textile Month
Silk and Raffia on Display, Portland Textile Month
Artists at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market
Artists at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market
Lalaina sewing cocoon textile
Lalaina sewing cocoon textile


 The International Folk Art Market (IFAM), 12-14 July, is just around the corner and SEPALI Madagascar is ready. After 3 months of preparation, Lalaina has her airplane ticket in hand and will be winging her way to Santa Fe just in time for the artist's opening welcome party. The IFAM event is actually 11 days and combines artisan training with public lectures, music, dance, parades and of course sales of beautiful artisan work. We are very honored to be a part of the event and we hope that you will come and help us celebrate SEPALI's accomplishments with the best of the best makers of world crafts. 

 Just in case you can't make it to Santa Fe, SEPALIM will also be participating in Portland's textile month activities.  Cargo, Portland's premier  import store, will host a "pop-up" event during the entire month of October. The "pop-up" will be a mini display (and sale) of SEPALI's nature- inspired textiles. But that is not all - artists interested in integrating wild silk text textiles into their own work will have a chance to attend a workshop with Julie Beeler at Wild Craft Studio School.  Julie will be illustrating eco-dye techniques and participants will have an opportunity to dye  their own cocoon silks (made by SEPALIM) with natural dyes and plant mordants.  We are still firming up the dates, but the workshop will be in early October. You will be able to sign up at https://www.portlandtextilemonth.com.  We hope to see you and at one of these events.

Shibori  raffia
Shibori raffia
LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN!!!!!
LET THE FESTIVITIES BEGIN!!!!!

Links:


Attachments:
    Artisan Hands at Work (photo by Linda Cortright)
    Artisan Hands at Work (photo by Linda Cortright)

    Donations from our supporters this past season are already being put to work in Madagascar, funding the training of new artisans, new equipment and sourcing the supplies needed to prepare for our biggest show yet.

    The International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico is a big opportunity for us. With ~20,000 visitors buying up art from around the world, we are thrilled to be accepted into this year’s show. Our lead artisan and head of the women’s group, Lalaina Raharindimby, will be attending this year as well as a group of volunteers from our partner in Canada, Sanjo Silk. Lalaina will get to participate in a training workshop for international business development prior to the show. If anyone lives in the area, or feels like traveling, please visit us there, meet Lalaina, and bring home some dazzling new art! https://folkartmarket.org/tickets/

    Preparations for big shows are always time consuming, but the team is already ahead of the game this year and feeling good about their progress. They are training new artisans, securing the silk supply lines, forecasting supply needs, and negotiating new shipping methods. With the experience of NY NOW under their belts, the team is better able to predict the work flow, problem solve and anticipate what they need. Our diversified silks and raffia are being sourced from ever-greater areas of Madagascar, providing supplemental income and livelihoods to those areas and connecting the wider community to the SEPALI program.

    We are also bringing our silk and raffia designs back to nature with eco-inspired themes for this year. Take a look at the beautiful new catalog showcasing Ta’na’na silks (below):

    Thanks again for your support and we will send another update soon!

    New Geometric Designs for Santa Fe
    New Geometric Designs for Santa Fe
    Round Bound Raffia Panels
    Round Bound Raffia Panels
    Mini Moons
    Mini Moons
    Placemats and Runners
    Placemats and Runners

    Attachments:
    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
    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
    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:

     

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    Organization Information

    Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

    Location: Walla Walla, WA - USA
    Website:
    Facebook: Facebook Page
    Twitter: @Catherine Craig
    Project Leader:
    Catherine Craig
    Walla Walla, WA United States
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