Artisan Workshops

Once my computer was back, off to Ranomafana artisan workshop. It was a great set of days bringing together artists to explore new ideas, attend a series of workshops, and fine-tune their crafts with added inspiration. An incredible talent from Vietnam led the workshops, and a few of us helped with the planning and organizing. It was the first time the local artisans ever got to work together, and we hope it will have lasting effects on their creative work and marketability.

IMG_2412 Artist Alain from PLAY helps lead a workshop

On the last day, I delivered the challenge to design a set of animals based on biodiversity in the forest that we can use with children. My slides had little mice wearing dresses in matchbox beds with tiny details and homes. While I thought it was pretty serious craftsmanship, everybody broke out into laughter – it seems like none of the artists had ever seen children’s play taken so seriously, but of course, I continued onwards! Play is the child’s most serious business. And trying to propose it in amidst the science community means I cannot afford a smile just yet. But I appreciated theirs.

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The days ended with proud artists selling pretty much all of their new work. I got away with a lamp made out of wood and coconut: a strange mix of founding fathers meets the tropics (see if you can find it below). And I even had the privilege to award the children with prizes for contributing to the workshops!


And I finally got the chance to meet the infamous Erik the Reptile Guy who set up a really beautiful education project for the children in Ranomafana village and other children all over the world: Erik’s site Definitely looking forward to working together in the future. All around great guy.

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