In Alagoas, in addition to cultural expression, handicrafts are synonymous with extra income
On Craftsman Day, women declare the importance of the activity, whether financial or therapeutic
From various hand-made works, be they with embroidery, with clay, clay or any other raw material, something emerges that goes beyond art and culture. Handicrafts can be considered a form of secular expression, which is passed on from generation to generation and maintains a living tradition. In Alagoas, there are several groups of artisans who work with different products and generate income from them. It is these and other groups that give meaning to the Craftsman Day, celebrated on March 19.
Amara Oliveira is one of the artisans who is part of the Associação Mulheres de Fibra, a group that works with banana fiber. At 43 years of age and mother of five, the artisan recognized in crafts an alternative way to earn money. She resides in the Água Fria settlement, located in the tourist municipality of Maragogi, and, together with other women, shapes a variety of products ranging from bags to cup holders.
It all started in 2008, when she got together with other women, residents of the rural settlement, and started to learn embroidery techniques. In 2010, after training and guidance, the Associação Mulheres de Fibra (Fiber Women Association) was created, composed of 15 artisans.
“Many artisans have this work as their only source of income. Sometimes, we even bill more than a minimum wage per month, an average of R $ 800. Embroidery is a job that can be done smoothly when learning the technique ”, commented the artisan, who sees her work as something that goes beyond the financial return, something that generates pleasant and therapeutic benefits.
Today, in addition to selling their products in the Association itself, located in the settlement, the artisans own two more stores: a store in the Vitrine do Artesão, a space shared with other groups, and another store with only banana fiber products, both in Maragogi. Soon, the artisans will have a space on the Visgueiro Trail, which will serve as a support and exhibition point. The money raised by the association with the sale of artisanal products serves both for its own benefits as well as for collective benefits, such as the renovation of the workplace.
“Our growth came from the help of Sebrae, who came to us and offered different skills to improve our work,” said Amara, who, in addition to being an artisan, works as a municipal health agent.
The artisan says that, with the institution, the opportunity to show the work was unique. In addition to the exhibitions held in Maceió, representatives of the Associação Mulheres de Fibra traveled outside Alagoas, such as Pernambuco and Brasília. These missions promoted market expansion, increasing the number of customers and generating orders.
Vanessa Fagá Rocha, manager of the Sebrae Alagoas Collective Tourism, Handicrafts and Culture Unit, explains that handicrafts have emerged as an occupation that deserves great attention on the part of the institution, because the groups that have been formalized have had great expression in the market. “We will make ourselves present and available to any entrepreneur who wanted to grow,” says the manager.