In a recent blog we described the Gift Brazil mission, our focus is on trying to shine a light on artisan craft in Brazil and to make it available to the world.
Brazil is a very big country. It is the biggest country in South America and the entire Southern Hemisphere and only Russia, the USA, Canada, and China are larger. If you got in your car in Porto Alegre in the very south of Brazil and started driving north to Belém you could keep driving for a week – assuming you stop the car to eat and sleep!
But we have made a commitment to ensure we visit every state in Brazil during 2014, to meet local artisans and to work with the local artisan associations so we can personally find some great craft from all across this enormous nation.
It will be a challenge because many parts of the country are impassable by road. Take a look at Brazil from the air on Google Maps: there are vast areas of jungle, wetland, and desert that are extremely difficult to navigate so we cannot just rent a car then hit the road as if we were planning a coast-to-coast journey of the USA.
And Gift Brazil is based in the south. Our base is located 150km (100 miles) north of São Paulo city centre. To the immediate East, South, and West of São Paulo it will be possible to do some long road trips of about a week, so we can fairly easily cover off most of the southern states by car.
Look at states such as Acre, Roraima, Amapá, or Tocantins. Remote, with very few roads and facilities meaning that we will have to fly to some locations and then use rented cars or buses to get around.
Manaus, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, is another good example of a place we really want to visit, but know that it will be a challenge. Surrounded by jungle and enormous rivers that are so wide you cannot see the opposite bank, it’s going to be fantastic to go and meet the artisans there.
But however difficult it looks now, we have said that it’s our mission to do this. And we are going to fund all our own travel – there is no government or trade association sponsoring this mission.
We will visit all the easier to reach states by car and then plan some longer journeys by air so that by the time we are drafting up our end of year blogs in December, we can claim to have visited every state in the land and be representing artisans from every corner of Brazil.
Our first trip will probably be south, but we are going to spend the next week or so mapping various options – we will keep you posted right here on the blog. Stay tuned and we will share photos and comment on this nationwide craft adventure for 2014!
Poster image by Amanda Mello. Amazon river image by Hudson. São Paulo’s Tietê bus station by Thomas Seiki Ueda.