Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fibre Arts workshop 2011

Amazon Fiber Arts

workshop with indigenous masters weavers
January 29th to February 12th, 2011

This fiber arts workshop in the Amazon offered a unique opportunity to explore the richness and variety of traditional Amazonian indigenous fiber materials and techniques, while engaging in a creative dialogue with aboriginal master weavers.
Participants were introduced to aboriginal Amazonian fiber arts: from artifacts to architecture, from utilitarian to the symbolic dimension, the art of weaving and the art of thinking. We collaborated with master weavers from Tikuna and Huitoto communities. A variety of fiber sources were studied: vines, bark, palm wood and leaves, and the natural dyes that are used by the local artisans, most of them collected while hiking Calanoa's reserve.
We wove palm leaves for the new kitchen’s roof, made strong twine from tender palm leaves or paper from tree bark. Through demonstration and practice, we had the opportunity to appreciate the value of fiber arts in the life of an Amazonian people.

Interested about the next workshops?
Contact us for information


What a wonderful experience this has been!! Delicious meals, weaving with Matilde & Consuelo. All have been kind and welcoming! Carol Dodd, Salt Spring Island, BC

A uniquely special time with uniquely special people. Melanie & Steven,
Salt Spring Island, BC

....Amazonas is an adventure you don't want to miss. The sights, sounds and smells of the jungle, the fresh organic food, the kind and generous people living along the river and the opportunity to experience different cultures make this a place you will want to return to. This is not a 5-star all inclusive hotel kind of vacation, it is, however very safe and comfortable. You will feel like part of the family by the end of the week. Don’t let your fear keep you from experiencing this amazing place.
Martina Black, Roberts Creek, BC

... My most treasured memories are of traveling along the river and visiting the small native villages. The Sampers had arranged jungle walks in the surrounding forest accompanied by native guides who were most knowledgeable in the use of both food and medicinal plants. On the last night of our stay in Amazonas we camped along the river and slept in hammocks covered with mosquito netting - a most memorable experience. Corene Lindsay, Gibsons, BC

We had a really great time at Calanoa and enjoyed every minute of our time at the Amazon! We had a perfect team. We experienced, saw and learned a lot of our guides in the nature and in the communities. Thank you very much for arranging this and giving us the opportunity to stay at Calanoa, which was an ideal base also to stay and to visit many sites by boat or by foot.
Ulrich Schmid, Germany

From Lonely Planet:
"Colombia’s back. After decades of civil conflict, Colombia is now safe to visit and travelers are discovering what they’ve been missing. The diversity of the country may astonish you. Modern cities with skyscrapers and nightclubs? Check. Gorgeous Caribbean beaches? Check. Jungle walks and Amazon safaris? Check. Colonial cities, archaeological ruins, high-mountain trekking, whalewatching, coffee plantations, scuba diving, surfing, the list goes on.
.." read more>>

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Calanoa Project

Matamat√° Creek

The Calanoa Project
Towards a model of sustainable living
in the Amazon forest

The Calanoa project is an initiative by Marlene and Diego Samper that aims to contribute to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity in the Amazon region by providing a setting for scientific research, communication and education, aesthetic research, innovative design and
architecture, as well as sustainable tourism.

Calanoa is located on the banks of the Amazon River, 60 km west of the Colombian town of Leticia, beside the Amacayacu Natural Park and several indigenous communities of the Tikuna people.

The Amazon River from Calanoa

The hub of this conservation project is 125 acres of land - the starting point for a natural reserve and botanical garden, a collection of tropical fruits, medicinal and useful Amazonian plants, and a butterfly garden. A grid of trails and wildlife observation towers will facilitate the study and contemplation of the forest for researchers and visitors.

In the near future Calanoa will provide basic lab facilities, lodging and logistical support for researchers working in the region. The conservation program supports research in conservation biology, anthropology, sustainable horticulture and forestry, as well as alternative ways of generating income for local communities. Our intention is to promote the cultural identity of the local communities and the preservation of their traditional ethno-biological knowledge and way of life.

We are increasing the variety and number of fruit trees in the orchard on the property in order to attain self sufficiency in food production and building materials, and as a seed bank of useful Amazonian and tropical plants. A series of ponds are being built for landscaping purposes and to farm fish that will be fed exclusively with local fruits.

Milciades Curitima, guide and master gardener

Calanoa provides an ideal setting for the development and implementation of innovative design for the humid tropics.

Because of the infrastructure required, it is a laboratory for natural and sustainable architecture, research into traditional techniques, local materials, wood and natural fibers, landscape architecture, alternative energies and water treatment.

The first settlement, built with local materials and traditional techniques, already generates its own electricity, collects rainwater and composts waste using only the natural dynamics of the site.

To contribute to the awareness of environmental issues, the improvement of the quality of education and quality of life, the communication & education program will explore creative processes of regional communication, through visual and performing arts, communication design, the production of teaching materials and the support of local schools. A boat will provide an itinerant library service, complemented by video projections, and will facilitate diverse cultural events, such as traveling exhibitions, live performances, and workshops in music, puppetry, theater and dance.

Village of Mocagua

The Arts program – through residencies and workshops –will be oriented towards the creation and experience of art forms that spring from a dialogue with the natural surroundings and traditional cultures.

Another aim is to contribute to the improvement of local artists and artisan skills, and to the exchange of knowledge and techniques with visiting artists.

Matilde, potter

We hope to explore how music and other performing arts can weave a relationship with the people and the place; how can sculpture, ceramics and painting, paper making and print making.

Film and photography, as windows to the world and mirrors of ourselves, how can they contribute to a common vision, a synthesis of wisdom.

As for sustainable tourism, Calanoa provides the setting for a true eco-touristic and ethno-touristic experience, with its natural architecture, sustainable buildings and clean energy sources, locally produced food and traditional cuisine, and a well established Amazon garden and an accessible forest. The Amazon river, nearby lakes and creeks offer excellent possibilities for sport fishing and bird watching, canoeing and a relaxed contemplation of the rainforest.

Calanoa is a permanent forum for art, design and science, through residencies, workshops, encounters and international meetings. By promoting the exchange of knowledge, visions, experience and techniques, local residents and visitors (tourists, resident scientists and artists) engage with the objectives and holistic philosophy of the project.

How can we build a permanent and respectful dialogue between culture and nature, how can we build a creative relationship between cultures? These are the challenges the Calanoa project will embrace.

The different programs will merge in a unified vision of a balanced relationship with the forest and the river that nurtures us, designing and testing a model –an integrated system- of sustainable living at the heart of the biggest forest on the planet. The Amazon –what it represents in terms of its extraordinary biological and cultural diversity- is at stake and is in need of protection.

As a life force, the Amazon rainforest is a beacon of hope for humanity’s future.

Photographs copyright by Diego Samper and Marlene Samper