This is a brief description of the work in the State of Acre, Brazil. From 5th to 15th November 2012 the FSA training and production happened at Seringal Veneza with rubber tapping families that are part of the producers association of Parque da Cigana.
Vanda (who is the chemistry researcher from the Lateq) and I travelled on the 5th from Brasília to Rio Branco, and then to Feijó, and then to the community of Parque da Cigana on the 6th, after many setting up plenty of materials, food, utensils to take to the training days. Mr. Tabota from Seaprof in Feijó was really kind and efficient in helping us to sort everything out.
We were very welcome by the families who would be involved in the course. However we were a bit frustrated because we expected to have latex to begin the course on the same day, but the production was not organised yet. In the end everything was right as we employed the time to discuss how things would work during the next days. Soon, women and men assumed their best roles, one in tapping the trees, others in organising the work space, cleaning, and producing the rubber sheets, among others. On the next day, each one were in their way to makes things happen.
Reorganising the producing unit.
I brought these FSA (Semi-artefact sheets) to show them.
The first production was very enthusiastic. We made about 60 rubber sheets, but lost some of them because it was also a day of testing the latex with new pigments to achieve the pastel colours we wanted. We also lost a part of the latex because of the long distance and warm weather.
Tests with laces on rubber
On the second day we could see what were the pigments and sheets that worked and the ones that did not. From our notes, Vanda and I knew beforehand what worked well and what we should not repeat. After pressing the coagulated rubber we did some tests of printing some sheets with laces textures.
From semi-artefact to artefacts
After pressing all the rubber sheets I showed Iris and Andreia how to work with the wet rubber to develop products. They were enthusiastic about it and immediately began to materialise ideas. I was also glad to be part of this emerging creativity process.
Later on, the team of the The Economist newspaper, with WWF UK and WWF Brazil arrived. They came out in such special moment, which just became even better through out the reportage. The rubber tappers exposed the difficults they are facing because of deforestation and the importance of the rubber and other productive activities in the forest. Moreover, we explained the FDL and FSA technologies, which the processing method was demonstrated by Vanda and the producers.
I am the design consultant of the Rainforest Fashion Project of the Sky Rainforest Rescue in partnership with WWF UK and WWF Brazil. This was initially a private blog made to share the development of the jewellery collection in Brazil with team members. Know more about the development of Lily Cole's jewellery collection.