Polo Veredas, located in the Urucuia River Valley, in the northwest of Minas Gerais state, is a cluster of eight craftwork groups dedicated to activities in the manual weaving production chain, which includes techniques for planting, combing, spinning, dyeing and weaving cotton. ArteSol’s work began in 1999 with the revitalization of the centres forming part of this production chain and strengthening the five existing craftwork associations.
After various training workshops held in 1999, 2007 and 2010, ArteSol articulated a regional network of local partnerships to support the weavers. The Urucuia River Valley Integrated and Sustainable Development Agency also played an important role in articulating strategic partners to this project, such as the Ministry of National Integration, the Banco do Brasil Foundation and SEBRAE/Minas. One substantial result achieved by this project is the consolidation of a Network of Associations, which, through various investment projects, enabled the craftwork groups to structure and increasingly strengthen their cooperation.
Based on the long-term work conducted by ArteSol and its partners, the region known as Urucuia Grande Sertão Territory has developed various networked projects geared towards sustainable regional development. One of them is tourism, the main attraction of which are the activities and products of groups initially formed by our organization. These groups work in an integrated fashion as a strategy for increasing the commercialization of their products. Embroiderers make packaging for the cerrado fruits and honey; other artisans make buritipalm pictures frames and packaging for the regional sweets; and weavers share the orders among the five associations with some spinning, others dyeing and others weaving various kinds of artefacts.
Partnerships of the project
Funding partners: Ministry of National Integration; SEBRAE MG; BID (The Inter-American Development Bank)
Supporters: Municipalities of Arinos, Riachinho, Uruana, Bonfinópolis and Natalandia; Vale do Urucuia Development Agency; Centro Cape Institute and University of Montes Claros.
By Antonio A. Arantes | Member of the Board of Directors of ArteSol – Artesanato Solidário, Brazil
Translation by David Rodgers