Craft, poverty and social change in Brazil

Brazil is a very unequal society. In big cities like São Paulo, it is possible to walk down a street filled with Chanel and Louis Vuitton shops that are more expensive than they are in Europe and then to turn a corner to find someone living in a shack built on the street. According to the World Bank, there are only 12 countries in the world that have a worse distribution of income. The World Bank uses a measurement called the Gini coefficient to measure income inequality – put simply, if every person in a country has the same income then the Gini would be 0 and if one person has all the cash then the Gini would be 1. The Gini coefficient is usually multiplied by one hundred so that it can be written as a percentage. So to give you an idea of the various scores, Denmark is the most

The toy makers from Abaetetuba

Softly-spoken Pirias is busy. He is preparing several items to take to a market and still needs to prepare for a workshop he will be hosting in a city that is hundreds of miles away from his hometown of Abaetetuba, in the state of Pará, extreme north of Brazil. Still, the artisan, real name José Plácido da Silva, finds a bit of time to chat to us. Abaetetuba is the home of toys made out of the pulp of miriti, a palm native to the north of the country and Pirias is the most recognized representative of this kind of craft in the whole of Brazil. The toy maker credits his fame and recent success – which includes a host of exhibitions and workshops across Brazil, as well as being picked as one of the few artisans to represent his state in the shops set up by the government during the

Brazilian craft we can only admire

At Gift Brazil, we aim to make genuine Brazilian artisan art and craft available to the world. This means that our team is always on the road, all over Brazil meeting with artisans and encouraging them to join our collective. Recently we were up in the extreme north of Brazil in Belém. Then we went to the extreme west of the country in the Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland in the entire world – very close to the border with Bolivia. Some of the artisans we meet are in very remote places, but we don’t have many requirements for including someone in the collective – the main requirement is that they are producing interesting products that we would like to showcase online! Sometimes, we meet artisans that produce great work, but we just cannot include them in the Gift Brazil collective because they don’t use email or other basic technologies. All orders