In the Creative Economy, Craftwork is a sector that contributes with the expression and cultural preservation presenting to the market the aesthetic values and identity of a people. In São Bento, Paraiba, the textile production carried out in Santa Luzia Hammocks and Decoration in manual and mechanical looms – with handcrafted finishes – brought Sir Armando Dantas, executive of the company, the “Recognition of Excellence in Handicraft of the Southern Cone” award.
The award was given by the World Crafts Council (WCC) with support, protection and recommendation from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). As an international organization, Unesco is a reference for the global vision of the socio-cultural and economic role of handicrafts in society.
The selected artisan products meet the following criteria and conditions: the award recognizes that a craft product (or product line) follows the criteria of technical quality, innovation, cultural bond and production with respect to the environment. Another criterion is the possibility of the product being marketed internationally.
Who presented the handcrafted products of the State of Paraíba for the selection was M. Eduardo Barroso. As a consultant and coordinator of the city’s João Pessoa Creative City program, he was present at the Assembly of the World Council of Handicrafts, held in Uruguay, whose programming included the selection of handicraft products from the Southern Cone countries: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile.
Environmental, social and economic sustainability
Focusing on sustainability, the award-winning hammock was developed in Paraiba using colored organic cotton. The certified cotton pen is already born with shades ranging from beige to brown, without the use of additives or dyes. The cultivation of the raw material is done without irrigation in the semi-arid region in rural settlement. As there is no dyeing, the impact on the water economy is 87.5% in the production chain, according to the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company – Embrapa. The contract is a guaranteed purchase so that farmers and their families can stay in the field, maintaining their traditions and living in a dignified way.
Mr. Dantas received the news with emotion. “The sensation is of overcoming. We have dreams. We have cause. We are insistent. We went through a crisis and it was very difficult, but in a collective decision we set the goal of being the best in our industry and everyone engaged. The award is a validation that our efforts were not in vain, “says the responsible for bringing business culture to the craft in their region.
Excellence as a result of innovation
Mr. Barroso explains that the award is made every three or four years, with no predetermined date. The recognition is given by region such as Andean countries, Central America and the Caribbean, Northern Europe, Asia, among others. According to the consultant is not a design award. “It is about recognizing excellence in the execution of artisanal work,” he says.
For Mr. Armando Dantas the recognition of excellence in execution is also the result of investment in innovation. When he was advised to adapt the TexBrasil export program of the Brazilian Association of the Textile and Apparel Industry – ABIT, Mr. Armando was warned that artisanal work on its products would be even more valued abroad. “We used to make handicrafts, but the consultancy has broadened our vision of the market,” he says. Thus, with the support of the SEBRAE, Mr. Armando Dantas kept the focus on developing products aligned with the decoration sector by investing in design, to ensure productivity, and in marketing, to increase demand. ¬¬ “Marketing has helped reach the market by communicating our creative and productive capacity in the creation and development of handcrafted and sustainable furniture and decoration products,” he says.
In this way, Mr. Dantas, which for 32 years sold door-to-door hammocks, now exports to Europe, North America and Africa. He is one of those responsible for São Bento City being known as the “international capital of the hammocks” and for keeping alive several manual techniques in the region and in the surroundings. In addition to the Santa Luzia Hammoks and Decoration textile factory, the artisanal production involves 400 families from the Paraíba hinterland. In the finishes are used macramé, lace, crochet, fuxico, patchwork, among other techniques made exclusively by hand.
The work of Mr Dantas at the head of the textile factory proposes the rescue of regional vocations, the preservation of the local culture, the promotion of family farming and the stimulus to entrepreneurship – enabling craftsmen to market. Excellence in execution, as a result of the engagement of those involved in the process, has now been officially recognized, contributing to the acceptance of its products in the internal and external markets.
Prize in João Pessoa – Creative City of Unesco
In total, 20 handicrafts from the five countries were awarded. Of Brazil, of the four winning products, three are from Paraíba. In addition to Mr Armando Dantas from the Santa Luzia Hammocks and Decoration, the craftsmen Joaquim da Silva Neto (Joca from Galos) were awarded with a bunch of leaves of fanders (cans) and Fernando Valentim (Mestre Valentim) with a marquetry bottle. Another product that gained recognition was a basket of Jalapão’s golden grass in the state of Tocantins.
The award “Recognition of the Southern Cone’s Artisan Excellence” was presented by Mr Alberto Bertolaza, president of the World Council of Handicrafts for Latin America (2010-2018) – coming from Uruguay especially for the closing of the International Fair of Creative Economy of João Pessoa, coordinated by Mr Barroso. The ceremony was attended by Mr Idrassen Vencatachelum, director of the International Craft Development Network, Miss Maísa Cartaxo, first lady of João Pessoa city , and Miss Regina Amorim, Sebrae Paraíba’s Tourism Manager.
“This recognition means a lot to us artisans. I started life as a street seller, I have an artisan’s portfolio and a lot of pride in this story that today generates jobs and helps in the development of the Criative Economy in João Pessoa city and also in the city of São Bento says Mr Dantas, of Santa Luzia Hammocks and Decoration , who spoke on behalf of the winners.
Interview with Armando Dantas: 83 3444 2273
Sandra Vasconcelos – Press Office
83 99824 6666 (whatsapp)