Partnerships in which designers work with artisans to improve their products, thus helping them get better income, are very popular in Latin America, and some of my favorite projects. Not only they encourage the use of local sustainable resources (since artisans usually work with natural materials), but they also empower artisans and move them to improve and pass on their skills to younger generations.
Through a collaboration between Brazilian designer Marcelo Rosenbaum and the local chapter of the Brazilian Service for Support to Micro and Small Companies (SEBRAE) comes another one of these partnerships: the Jalapa collection.
Its products are made with the stems of a small flower that grows in the paths of state park Jalapao, the so-called Golden Grass or Capim Dourado, which are turned into fashion and home accessories by local artisans.
This species with golden color stems doesn’t grow anywhere else in the world, and the practice to turn it into products dates back to artisans descendent from African slaves, who learned the craft from local indigenous communities. Its harvest is now regulated by the Tocantis state government to ensure it’s only collected at the right time of the year (September).
Rosenbaum carried a workshop to help artisans develop new beautiful products, which include tables, plates, and maxi-jewelry, among others.
They are commercialized by the Capim Dourado Pontealtense Association, whose contact details are at the designer’s website.