In this page we aim to provide some green links for
you to find more information about the enviroment, how to choose green products,
become a savvy green shopper not only at home but at work, and generally, help the planet!
Since a lot of our products
are made with natural fibres, we invite you see the video about
2009 The Year of the Natural Fibres - 2009 Ano Internacional de las Fibras Naturales:http://www.naturalfibres2009.org/es/index.html
- Greenpeace Canada: www.greenpeace.ca
- Greenpeace Colombia: http://www.greenpeacecolombia.org/
Greenpeace Living Guide: Offers real solutions
for environmental living at home, at work and in your community. The
Greenpeace Living Guide reflects Greenpeace's commitment to political and practical
action. It offers real solutions for environmental living at home, at work and in
your community. It also shows how each one of us can get political and be an every
day activist—taking on the root causes of environmental issues around the world.
Here is a brief description of the natural fibres
(fibras naturales) used in the production of some of Fair Trade Colombia's products
- some of the information is only available in Spanish, we have done our best to
translate some of it.
cultivo permanente que se autoreemplaza con un pequeno retono que crece la lado
de la planta madre, la cual muere al ser cosechada. Pertenece a la familia de las
MUSACEAS y su nombre generico es MUSA PARADISIACA. El fruto es comestible, pero
tambien se utilizan otras partes de la planta como es la calceta, para elaborar
artesanias, las hojas para envolver tamales y la bellota para alimentacion humana.
Dependiendo de la region sele conoce como guasca, zuncho, latigo, bejuco o majagua.
La calceta del platano es el seudo tallo de la planta, denominado tambien falso;
esta formado for las calcetas o bejucos que la planta va soltando a medida que va
creciendo. Esta maravillosa fibra es transformada por las manos de nuestros artesanos
en bellas obras artesanales.
Musa (genus) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Musa is one of three genera
in the family Musaceae; it includes bananas and plantains. There are over 50 species of Musa with a broad variety of uses. The word "banana"
came via Iberian from a West African language
circa 1597 and has since found its way into most Western languages. The
scientific name for the genus is similar to and possibly derived from
Persian mawz/mauz (موز) or Turkish (muz) names for the fruit.
Though they grow as high as trees,
banana and plantain plants are not woody
and their apparent "stem" is just the bases of the huge leaf stalks. Thus
they are technically gigantic herbs.
Seda Natural (Natural Silk): Information in Spanish from one of
our producers: Valleseda (www.valleseda.com) Visit this useful Website for more information
Al conjunto de actividades que se realizan para la producción
de seda natural se le llama sericultura e integra las fases de:
• Producción de huevos de donde nace el gusano de seda.
• cultivo de la planta de la morera
• cría del gusano de seda
• producción de capullos tejidos por el gusano
• producción de hilos de seda obtenidos del capullo.
Cultivo de la planta de la morera
morera es una planta que pertenece a la familia de las moráceas,
originaria de Asia central, arbustiva, que se constituye en el único
alimento del gusano de seda y se desarrolla bien en pisos térmicos que
van desde los 900 a los 1500 m.s.n.m., con temperaturas promedio de 23°
Cria del Gusano de Seda:
gusano de seda (bómbyx mori) es un insecto que tiene una metamorfosis
completa, pasando por los estados de huevo, larva, pupa y polilla o
Ciclo biológico del gusano de seda
huevo del gusano de seda tiene el tamaño de una cabeza de alfiler, su
incubación dura 12 días aproximadamente, a partir de los cuales nace
una pequeña larva de unos 3mm de longitud. El periodo larval dura unos
25 días y comprende 5 edades ó instares y 4 mudas o ecdisis; finalizada
esta etapa se inicia la formación del capullo que demora 72 horas. La
larva se transforma en pupa 2 días después y a los siguientes 10 días
emerge la polilla. Después de copular, la hembra pone entre 400 y 500
Ventajas de la sericultura:
La sericultura es una actividad de integración familiar, que genera
ingresos y empleo a las comunidades rurales y población vulnerable.
el color de la seda es dado con tintes naturales extraidos de hojas,
semillas, flores y principalmente cana de azucar y cafe dando como
resultado una caracterizacion muy colombiana a los tejidos de sena
natural del Valle del Cauca.
is the cultivation of cocoons for their filaments. The best raw silk is
obtained from the species of moth called Bombyx mori. Breeding of
silkworm occurs once in a year but under scientific conditions, they
may be hatched three times a year. The female moth lays around 350 to
400 eggs and the moths die soon after. As they are subject to
hereditary infection, the eggs from infected moths are destroyed which
results into production of fine silk. Larvae of about 3mm are hatched
from the eggs. For about 20 to 30 days, they are carefully nurtured and
are fed five times a day on chopped mulberry leaves. In the meantime,
the larvae change their skin
for four times and are formed into caterpillar of about 9 cm long. Now
they are ready to spin cocoon for which racks, clusters of twigs or
straw are provided.
The caterpillar have small openings under their jaws called spinnerets
through which they secret a protein like substance. This substance
solidifies when it comes in contact with air and the filament thus
formed is spun around the silkworm in the figure resembling the digit
8. In three days the cocoon gets completed which is about a peanut
shell's size. The filament is held together by sericin or silk gum. The
life of the worm is ended by the process of 'stoving' or 'stifling' in
which the cocoons are heated. Some of the cocoons are preserved so that
the pupa or chrysalis inside them develop into moths for further
Sericulture is generally a family activity that generates
jobs and income to rural and vulnerable communities.
the silk's colour is obtained by using natural tintes extracted from
leaves, seeds, flowers and mostly from sugar cane and coffee which
gives a very colombian caractheristic to the natural silk produced in
the region of Valle del Cauca.
Info from: Colombia Travel - Official Tourism Portal (http://www.colombia.travel/en/)
The basketwork manufactured in werregue (also, güérregue),
the most elegant of fiber handicrafts, is unique in South America. Most probably
it came from Africa, as is evidenced by the exactness, coordination and rhythm that
allows the desired forms to be obtained and the harmony in the selection of the
combination of designs.
Weaving a vase can take between 30 and 60 days. The result
is a unique piece that will always be admired for its beauty and grace.
Werregue handicrafts are made by the Waunana Indian community
that inhabits the San Juan River delta, in the rainforest of Colombia’s Pacific
Due to the unique construction methods used for werregue
baskets, it takes several days to several months for an artisan to make each basket.
Each is a work of art in itself, and no two are alike. Made from the spines of werregue
palm trees, the baskets are lined internally so they hold water. The baskets are
used by the local people to carry water from the rivers and lakes into the village.
Inside and out, the baskets look like they're completely made of woven palm;
the secret water shield is buried among the layers of the basket. Because of this,
it is heavier than you would expect a basket to be. The palm fibers are also dense
and slick, adding to the solid feel of these specially crafted pieces.
Werregue baskets are considered to be the finest baskets made in Colombia. Their
craftsmanship, detail, and the tight weaving of the fibers are easy to appreciate.
They are extremely beautiful and also durable. Beneath the top layers of fiber you
can see the tight coils used to shape the baskets. They are coiled tigher and of
smaller diameter at the bottom of the basket. They grow as the basket widens out
and they narrow again at the narrowest part of the neck below the rim.
Basketry is a feminine occupation.
It is the Waunana women who process the leaves of the werregue palm to obtain the
fibers that are later dyed. They use a spiral technique to make the baskets. Using
a spiral technique, they roll the flexible werregue fibers and sew them to the base
and then work on the sides until they achieve a basket called “coca”.
History of the werregue vases
Originally, the Waunana women manufactured werregue vases
with a texture so solid and compact that they could be used to carry water.
The main material for the production of these handicrafts
is a fiber from the werregue, a 20 to 30 meter high palm tree with a thorny trunk.
The sprouts are removed to extract ribbon-like strips that later are turned into
At present, and in response to the interest of the public
for this kind of decorative products, the Waunana combined the werregue fiber with
new materials. And they began to make not only baskets and vases, but also dishes
and plates in which they used the werregue fiber as well as the wood from the werregue
Design and color in werregue handicrafts
Werregue handicrafts have been widely accepted in national
and international markets by virtue of the beauty, elegance and ingenuity of each
and every product.
The designs include:
- Pictorial images from Waunana mythology
- Geometric shapes
- Schematic representations of men and animals
All these figures are depicted in a symmetrical balanced
way, thus exhibiting the Indians’ view of the Universe and Man.
In regard to color, the original white fiber of the werregue
is combined with collored fibers dyed with pigments obtained from:
- Annatto seeds, with their orange and reddish tones
- The juice of the jagua (Genipa Americana) fruit is used
as black dye.
4. Fique and Straw: Info from: Colombia Travel - Official Tourism Portal
Info from Wikipedia:
Vegetable fibers like fique and straw have always been used in Colombia for manufacturing
artisan products. With their added advantage of being biodegradable and ecological,
they have been used for making packing containers, sacks for transporting coffee
and fertilizers, rope, etc.
Fique (Furcraea andina), also called cabuya,
is a plant that grows in most climates and altitudes in Colombia. The country has
an annual production of about 30,000 tons of the plant.
On the other hand, in this case, straw refers
to the leaf of a palm tree. The straw must have an even thickness in order to obtain
a perfect rolling and assembling of the handicraft, in such a way that it will not
become undone when manipulating it and wrapping it in fique. Artisans choose the
plants from the highest regions, which are the longest and smoothest.
Fique is a
natural fiber that
grows in the leaves of the fique plant (Furcraea andina ), a xerophytic
monocot native to
Andean regions of
Colombia. From here
it was extended to Venezuela and the east coast of Brazil.
Common names: Fique, Cabuya, Pita, Penca, Maguey, Cabui, Chuchao or
fique plant is often confused with the agave
plant. The differences are that the Agave leaves are yellowish and
stiff, with a strong spike in the tips, while the Fique plant leaves
are droopy and greenish without a spike. (from Wikepedia).