It’s not everyday that you get to see skilled artisans and master weavers in action, let alone assume the role of a propitious pupil to such expert craftsmen. Last May ten students of the Pratt Institute traveled to the rainforests of Guyana, South America to undertake “The Guyana Project,” an initiative to get back to the basics and learn the process of designing ecologically manufactured products and furniture from those who've been doing it for centuries. Working in the Liana Cane Factory, an outlet located in the indigenous Wai Wai community, students discovered the ultimate spring of inspiration, drawing upon a rich culture and unprecedented experience. What resulted from their remarkable undertaking was an amazing collection of sustainable works that recently made their debut at Model Citizens during ICFF. Click ahead as students share their experiences and projects firsthand!
The lucky group of graduate students constructed their projects in the Liana Cane factory, an ethical working environment using only renewable, non-timber rainforest materials. Liane Cane’s owner, Jocelyn Dow, did her best to make students feel welcome in the foreign environment and encouraged them all to form personal relationships with the employees at the factory to heighten their experience. Over the course of their adventure, watching and engaging in works firsthand, students began to understand the intense labor commitment required in manufacturing products. Awe-inspired by the process, they have all since vowed to continue to design with a greater consciousness, underscoring that designing and manufacturing really do go hand in hand.