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Basket Makers at Lac Mantasoa

The Maker Lab where most of Distaff&Spindle's baskets are made is located at Lake Mantasoa, roughly a 2-hour road-winding journey east from Antananarivo, the nation's capital. As you make the trip the air gets cleaner, the pollution and noise of the congested city fading away to the quiet, bucolic vistas of rice fields, zebu grazing on the side of the hills, wandering creeks whose banks are bedecked with washed and drying laundry. The community space at Kanana, the location at which the Lac Mantasoa Atelier is located, is covered by pine trees. You can smell the pines steeping in the sun. As you near the Maker Lab you can hear the hum of sewing machines and the laughter and chatter of...

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Bicycle Artisan: Madame Odette

Madame Odette and her family create the most adorable, and intricate bicycles out of scrap tin cans. I met Odette through a mutual friend of ours, Madame Fanja (Fan-za, pictured below). Madame Odette sells her art at the 67 Hectare Market in downtown Antananarivo (Tana, for short), the capital city of Madagascar.    Madame Odette, at her booth in the 67 Hectare Market, and Me, when i visited Madagascar to fetch more stock in 2018. Creating pieces of art out of scrap tin-cans is quite common in Madagascar, I've observed. I've seen airplanes, cars, busses, bicycles, and many other ingenious items handcrafted with meticulous attention to detail. Strolling the Artisan Market in Tana is akin to visiting a museum of...

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How It's Made: Aluminum Atelier AluMada

All of Distaff&Spindle's Smelted Aluminum Products (anything that looks silver in our collection :-) ) is handmade from smelted tin-cans at AluMada's 'Founderie de L'Ocean Indien' (Foundry of the Indian Ocean) a small family-run, Woman Owned workshop located just off Ivato Road in Antananarivo, the Capital City of Madagascar. Here you can see photos of the making process and read about the background of this creative enterprise. I have included a blog post I wrote about our field trip to the founderie in 2014 and an excerpt from an AluMada publication, and the photos I took of the making process. There are many such Aluminum Making locations in Mada, as the Malagasy use Smelted Aluminum to create much of their...

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