Characteristics, raw material, production process and commercialization of Amapá handicraft products.
Indigenous handicrafts, fiber handicrafts, seeds and vines, regional wood handicrafts and ceramic handicrafts are discussed here considering their productive, commercial and cultural characteristics of the state of Amapá.
Indigenous Crafts: Tumucumaque Park and Waiãpi Indigenous Peoples
Artifacts for personal use of the culture itself (baskets, necklaces and bags from seeds of the region, colored with natural and also artificial paints, benches, arrows, headdresses, combs, ritual whistles, among others).
In the case of Waiãpi, no dyes are used in their seeds. The process is fully manual with braiding, notching and personal adornment mounting techniques.
These products have a high added cultural value, in which the cultural manifestations of these peoples are represented in the form, the graphics, which are mostly present in the fauna and flora of the region. Commercialization is done directly by the associations in a building provided by the State Government.
The craftsmanship of this segment is very diversified, having a different producing public. Most of the producers are part of the Amapá State Artisans Association (AART-AP). The products basically are:
Fibers and seeds: personal adornments (bags, necklaces, bracelets, hats, earrings) and souvenirs (object holders, key chains, etc.). The process is configured by collecting raw materials in the forest, in some cases, around the production sites themselves. In the treatment of seed and natural fibers, some colored with natural and artificial dyes, and in the process of shaping the pieces, small machinery is used, such as hand drills and sanders. In finishing, the pieces are usually varnished and waxed.
The most outstanding pieces in the state are the personal adornments with cultural identity Maracá and Cunani, incorporated into a new line of jewelry developed by designer contracted by Sebrae in 2006.
Vines: baskets, fruit trees and furniture. The process begins with the removal of the vine in isolation. Some artisans collect their raw materials, but in many cases buy from suppliers or receive donations from the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) when there is an apprehension of the illegal vine.
Artisans complain because there is not yet a law that regulates the extraction of the vine, causing embarrassment, discomfort and anguish in the class that depends on the material to produce their pieces.
From the collection, the vine is sanitized and divided in half to enable the braiding technique, common in all products of this segment. The varnish is widely used in the process of finishing the parts. It is believed that the addition of this component to the finish may conserve the product further and in some cases improve the aesthetic appearance.
The thinner plywood is used to make the base of the baskets. There is a repetition of models both in baskets and furniture sets: sofas, chairs and coffee tables, considered in the state as pieces of crafts.
This segment brings a wider range of products, most of them utilities. Toys, kitchenware, object holders, fruit trees, carvings and sculptures representing local culture values are produced.
The woods most used in the production of wood crafts are: cedar, macacaúba, marupá, sucupira, angelim, among others. In the production of toys such as miniatures of automobiles and boats, we also use reused wood from fruit packaging, for example.
The use of midsize equipment and its finishing techniques enable higher production compared to other segments. Craftsmen in this segment are slowly starting to leave their nails in place and turn to the socket, which facilitates the assembly and disassembly of the pieces, and visibly improves the aesthetic quality of the set. This is due to the design actions that Sebrae / AP has been implementing since 2002.
To better understand ceramic crafts, let’s divide it by territory. In this way we try to be fair to the identities of each group. Are they:
The only things in common in the crafts of these territories are: most of the artisans came from Pará and brought in their repertoire all the knowledge of Marajoara pottery production, repeating to this day vases decorated with rich graphics of this civilization and its techniques. But the realities are quite different.
In Oiapoque, there is a very active and homogeneous family production, with a greater diversity of products and more intense color experimentation.
Due to the proximity to French Guiana and the distance from the state capital, the production flow is all done in the neighboring country. Despite efforts by the State Government and Sebrae to support the marketing of products in the capital and the domestic market, difficulties in access and the high cost of transportation discourage the group and make institutional efforts unfeasible. In this segment, stands out the mineralized ceramics.
Technique disseminated by Plastic Artist Nina Barreto in the 1930s, pottery received manganese dust as a decoration device, being the most genuine product in the state. This product is basically produced by potters in the capital. The characteristic color is black, with the ore luster its most beautiful aesthetic feature.
Region populated by Afrodescendants, the Maruanum ceramic handicraft, located approximately 42 km from the capital, is a mix of techniques and mysticism. For the community’s dishes, the production of the pieces is an act considered “sacred”, enhanced by rituals and superstitions.
There is a determination of rules, unofficial, but a pact built from their cultural relations, which defines the rituals of production from the collection of clay to the burning and finishing of dishes. The technique is very rudimentary, being confused with indigenous techniques of ceramic production, but full of beliefs and singing, which make this craft one of the most expressive and representative of Amapá. There is no lathe or maromba, just the hands that are shaping the pieces, preparing the bonfire for burning and finally the cutting, in the finishing stage of the piece. Each dish has a different color, half gray, half orange, in softly natural pastels.
Considered by some outside the Handicraft classification, the manualities are the most frequent in Macapá commercialization places. The most used materials are: cold matter, fabrics, jute, industrial paints, embroidery etc. The technique is transmitted by television media, specialized magazines, short courses, giving these products a universal aesthetic.
This segment is distinguished from the others by the low representation of local cultural identity and use of industrial inputs. Few venture to attempt innovation by adding elements of local culture, but are restricted to the fauna and flora of the region.
All of the above segments, except the indigenous ones, are sold at local fairs promoted by the State Secretariat of Labor and Entrepreneurship (SETE), as well as at the Casa do Artesão – a space currently destined for this purpose, provided by the State Government. There are also other prominent places selling Amapá handicrafts such as Mercado da Floresta, a shop at the airport and another at the shopping mall of Macapá.