Brazilian company Aurea made an appearance at the New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) in New York City this past week to show off its latest golden grass designs. The company works with local artisans who use age old indigenous techniques to transform the grass into beautiful, contemporary products that add a golden touch to any home. Best yet, the products are lightweight and almost as durable as any precious metal on the market!
Cristiane Kimura started Aurea to not only showcase the natural beauty of golden grass and Brazil, but also to promote traditional techniques and to create economic opportunities for artisans. Run as a fair trade company, Aurea deals directly with artisans who set their own prices.
The majority of the artisans are women who work from home in sweat-shop free environments and balance their work with their family and housework obligations. They have organized themselves into producer-owned associations which give them a sense of empowerment, as well as a significant source of income to improve their living conditions in the remote rural region where they live.
Golden grass is an integral part of the artisans’ surrounding landscape as it grows abundantly in Central Brazil without the use of pesticides or other toxic products. The shimmery, natural fiber looks similar to gold or fine copper filaments, and when tightly woven into Aurea’s line of jewelry, bowls and small boxes, proves just as resilient. To help conserve the region’s biodiversity and ensure sustainable harvest practices, local environmental agency Naturatins has put several regulations in place. The agency has also trained and certified Aurea’s artisans in sustainable practices.
Like much of Brazil, Aurea’s popularity seems to be growing. Its concern for its artisans combined with a keen eye for design that incorporates surrounding renewable resources make it attractive to an international audience. With no dyes or coatings applied to its finished products, Aurea shines through for what it really is!
All images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat