These Brazilians Make Art Off Fish Scales and Shrimp Nets

Fish tiara These Brazilian artists are just starting but dream that in future they may export to markets all over the world. For the 300 artists of 24 cities that are participating in the Mar de Dentro Handicraft project, in Rio Grande do Sul, the idea is to make money from production of accessories, costume jewelry and decoration parts made out of different material.

In the case of the Redeiras collection, for example, the raw material is fish scales and leather, as well as the remains of shrimp-fishing nets.

“In the case of leather, the material is taken from the fish, tanned and dyed. The parts of fishing nets, in turn, are cut, dyed and become thread for handbags, among other items,” explained Mar de Dentro project manager Jussara Argoud. According to Argoud, the importers have not yet arrived, but they are on their way.

“At a fair there is too little time, the owner of a shop of Brazilian articles in France took our catalogue and was greatly interested,” she said. “Foreign buyers are welcome,” she said.

The initiative was created in 2008 and counts on support and consultancy from the Rio Grande do Sul state chapter of the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae). Production is already growing at a rate of 15% a year.

“It is all made artistically, hence our limitation for fast growth,” said Jussara. Apart from Redeiras, the project has another two collections of accessories and articles for decoration, namely Bichos do Mar de Dentro and Ladrilã.

Another similar operation in the south of Brazil is developed by Canoa Group, which makes use of rubber residues from the auto and shoe industries to make handbags and accessories.

“We have products like handbags, wallets, necklaces and earrings, among other products,” said Edy Ferreira Ribera, president of the Group, which also counts on the support of the Rio Grande do Sul state Sebrae.

The project has been in operation since 2007 and brings together 30 artisans. All of them eyeing possible business abroad. “Abroad, production by hand is greatly appreciated,” said Ribeira.



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