Tamshi – Sustainable Materials

Tamshi – Sustainable Materials

Tamshi – Sustainable Materials

Another of the materials of the Peruvian jungle is an aerial root known as ¨Tamshi”. With this fiber, baskets, brooms and baskets are made. In turn, the Tamshi is also used to join the logs in the construction of huts for the communities. Similarly, there is the fiber of the Chambira palm, used by the Yaguas tribe to make clothing, hammocks, bags and fishing nets.

The vegetable fiber of “Tamshi” plays an important role in the life of the rural population of the Peruvian Amazon, since it is common in the construction of houses, household utensils and handicrafts; however, very few are aware of the need for its preservation and management. Due to excessive use, the species is seriously threatened; However, with proper management, it can contribute to generating economic income and preserving the Amazonian tropical forests.

The name “Tamshi” is assigned to a group of plant fiber species, such as “Wire Tamshi” (Heteropsis linearis, Kunth), “Cow Tamshi” (Heteropsis oblongifolia, Smith), “Huasi Tamshi” (Heteropsis spp.), ” Tamshi Lamas “(Heteropsis spp.),” Tamshi Basket “(Thoracocarpus bissectus (Vell.) Harling), and others. These species have in common being hemi epiphytes with long, cylindrical, wire-like roots that hang or are attached to the trunks of trees over 20 meters high in primary forests.

The “Tamshies” are native species of the Amazonian forests climax or in apogee, they are not in secondary forests. Tamshies are non-timber forest products, they have multiple uses and applications. In rural areas it is an important construction material that replaces wire and is used as a tie material to hold “beams”, for example.

It is highly resistant to the attack of fungi and insects. Its use is also common in the weaving of baskets, mats, beds, hats, and other utensils and fishing materials. The “tamshies” depending on the thickness and characteristics of the species, are also used in the construction of fences for the protection of animals, assembly of beds in replacement of bed bases, lines to dry clothes and as raw material for the manufacture of handicrafts in different communities native. In urban areas it is also widely used in the manufacture of furniture, as it perfectly replaces the well-known wicker fiber.

Currently, the pressure exerted on this resource forces rural inhabitants to look for these species in areas increasingly distant from the traditional centers of production, becoming increasingly scarce and rare. However, in this situation, very little is known about the basic aspects of its taxonomy, biology, ecology and physical and mechanical characteristics.

In Peru and neighboring countries, inventories of abundance in non-intervened forests in neighboring countries have been reviewed, as well as the results of the inventory carried out in the Palma Real Native Community and the experiences in making handicrafts, using Tamshi as raw material.

A clear example of good practices for the use of this natural fiber is that developed by the artisans of the Palma Real Native Community in Madre de Dios, since they have developed habits of use that allow the sustainability of the resource. This is an empirically learned management, which has been transmitted from generation to generation. Other native communities that we can mention are the native communities of Nanay in Loreto and Puerto Esperanza of the Asheninka ethnic group in Ucayali.

 Sources:

IAAP Tamshi: Otro producto no maderable de los bosques amazónicos con importancia económica: https://bit.ly/3apXL52

Rainforest Alliance: Guía del Alambre Tamshi : http://bit.ly/3ny8duX

CESTA ARTESANAL DE TAMSHI – Comunidad Nativa Palma Real https://bit.ly/3mxNeXR

  • Tamshi
  • shipibo women
  • Ucayali
  • Tamshi Basket

Chambira – Peruvian Jungle Sustainable Materials

Chambira – Peruvian Jungle Sustainable Materials

Chambira - Peruvian Jungle Sustainable Materials

Palm trees have played a very important role in the daily life of Amazonian communities. Its different uses have been associated mainly with basic needs such as housing construction, food, the manufacturing of utilitarian crafts, medicines, fertilizers, fuel, clothing, etc. The weaving technique together with the ancestral knowledge about the plants that belong to their natural ecosystem and the dyes that they produced, allowed the Amazonian population not only to enter the world of color and expression, but also to find the roots and identity of each people, expressed in the designs of their fabrics and body paintings.

Chambira is a typical palm of the Amazon, we can find it in tropical forests of Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Brazil. In the Peruvian Amazon it is found in the low jungle, especially in the Department of Loreto. Although its growth is slow, after three years its fiber can already be used to make articles that do not require a hard fiber. At six years of age the fiber of the leaves has already matured, becoming more resistant and hard. The spinning of the raw fiber, an activity known locally as “fiber twisting”, is carried out manually. For this, good hygiene of the hands and legs is necessary, since the thread will slide over them.

To ensure that logging does not deplete the resource, communities or groups of artisans should organize and make agreements on the use of it and its conservation. These agreements must contemplate the prohibition of the felling of the palm tree, the respect of the populations close to the community, the repopulation of the species where it has been decimated, etc. The organized groups formed or the community itself as a whole, will be responsible for supervising and enforcing the agreements taken together.

The Chambira or Astrocaryum and its fiber have great potential in the growing tourist market of the Northern Jungle region. The recovery of traditional weaving and dyeing will not only mean a revaluation of Amazonian culture and indigenous culture in particular, but it will also enable rural artisans to achieve better income and working conditions. Among the main natural dyes used to dye this fiber we can mention Achiote, Coffee, Retama, Ojo de Vaca, Huito, Mango among other herbs, fruits and species present in its natural ecosystem.

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Sources:

Manos Trabajadoras tejiendo la Chambira https://bit.ly/349jwly

Guía Chambira AECID https://bit.ly/3abB1pd Palmas Ecuatorianas https://bit.ly/2KpBZmS

Amazon Forest Store https://bit.ly/387I8MC

Global Giving Support native artisans & rainforest in the Amazon https://bit.ly/3gOjrZC

El Hilo Conductor Tradición y Moda en el Perú Autora: Olga Zaferson Aranzaens

  • Chambira
Alpaca: Sustainable Materials

Alpaca: Sustainable Materials

Alpaca: How Sustainable is It?

Every 1st of August, the “National Alpaca Day” is celebrated in Perú, a great opportunity to recognize the mystical work that Alpaca’s breeders carry out daily in the 17 producing regions of Perú. The main Alpaca wool´s producers are in Perú and Bolivia.

There are more than 3.7 million Alpacas worldwide, which represents 87% of the world population, with the Huacaya and Suri breeds predominating.

Alpaca’s wool is a natural fabric that belongs to the so-called noble fibers, such as Mohair, Cashmere or Angora. It has a wide range of natural colors (20 or more) ranging from white to black, through light brown, dark brown or gray.

Alpacas live in large herds at 3.000-4.000 meters above sea level. Their natural ecosystems present extreme weather conditions, with sudden temperature changes, strong winds, very high solar radiation and low concentration of oxygen, which have led them to develop a very resistant and high-quality fur.

Types of Alpaca’s wool

There are three types of Alpaca’s wool: 1. Alpaca Fleeze, 2. Baby Alpaca, which is the fiber that comes from the first shearing done in the life of an alpaca when they are 3 years old, this fiber has an enormous and extremely soft quality and 3. Royal Alpaca, which is a selection of the best Baby Alpaca fibers and only 1% of the world production of alpaca fiber corresponds to this variety.

Other types are Huarizo, used to make knitted fabrics and Gruesa with which rugs, tapestries and linings are made.  

Alpaca’s Wool Production Process: Quality Assurance Certification

The best way to check if the Alpaca garment or accessory you are getting complies with the quality standards is by looking into the Alpaca Mark tag that is provided by IAA International Alpaca Association based in Arequipa, Perú, ISO 9001 certification among other type of certifications.  

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Alpaca’s Wool: Product’s certifications

Fashion is the second most contaminating industry that not only affects ecosystems, but has been associated with complex social compliance issues such as child labor, workers’ wages, and benefits, as well as health and safety issues. Due to this, the demand for certified sustainable products is growing. Certifications such as ISO45001 Health and Safety Management System, GOTS global Organic Textile Standard that aims to ensure the organic condition of textile products, from the manufacture of the raw material, RWS standard for responsible wool, OCS organic content standard, IVN Nature Standards among others are currently available, but there is still opportunities of improvement in regards of the supervision and control of its compliance.

Alpaca’s Wool Main Benefits

Here are the main advantages and benefits of Alpaca’s wool:

a) It is warmer and stronger than sheep wool.

b) It is hypoallergenic, unlike sheep wool, it does not contain lanolin.

c) Offers thermal insulation.

d) Its level of comfort is extremely high.

e) It has a wide palette of natural colors (20 or more).

f) It is silky and shiny, it does not lose its shine after dyeing and washing.

g) It is light and comfortable, despite being a very warm fiber.

h) It’s elastic and resistant.

i) It’s fire resistant.

j) It is durable, garments last for many years, they do not break, deform, or wear through use.

k) It is also not affected by fungi and other microorganisms.  

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