Tagua, Balsawood, and other Ecuadorian Crafts
Tagua nuts are seeds also called "Palm or vegetable ivory". This is a palm tree that grows only at Ecuador & Colombian mountains slopes. Ecuadorian nuts are the best of the world for its greater quality, wholeness and size.
Ecuador was the greatest exporter of this material in the 40´s. The nuts were use to make buttons and in those years it was an important export item for the nation. The palms were never cut, just harvested and still are. Plastic buttons came in those days and export stopped for a while. Now, tagua is back and is being used as an alternative for animal Ivory (whale, elephant, sealion, tiger, etc.) carvings. And also, high fashion labels are using it still for very expensive suits. Maybe, your Armani has them!.
So, if you buy Tagua carvings, you are indeed saving a few of those animals in a cheap and useful way. Also, giving jobs to us 3rd worlders.
Some of the carvings you will see here are carved at Indonesia, by master carvers who used to carve animal ivory for centuries. We are trying tom change that by giving them an green alternative from Ecuador, 180 dregrees around the planet!.
"Muyuyo" wood dining set at "ShangriLa" House.
Balsawood is cut from a tree that only grows in the Ecuadorian basins, east and west of Ecuador´s Andes. Balsa is a great plant that grows very fast on humid areas. It can be cutted without harming the environment since it grows so fast and is replanted and regrows naturally.
Balsawood is an important export from Ecuador to the world and it may grow on other areas as an introduced specie, but only here grows so big, thick and light.
Balsawood is used for decades, to make Balsawood surfboards. And every Balsa shaper knows there is no other best wood for a surfboard than Ecuador´s.
My buddy, Andres
Kosminsky/BALSAFLITE, a San Diego born shaper and master craftman, who lives
at "Playas" for a long time,
is a world known balsa blank constructor. Also you can contact Afroblanks another good friend who learned from AK and makes laminated balsa boards and also blanks (his name Lucho or better known as "Afro" can be contacted at cel: 092-911-663 (if calling from overseas add country code 593 take the first 0 out).
You better get one meanwhile this masters are still alive!.
Balsawood also is used by locals carvers, making beautiful crafts an art. You can get all this at the Amazon & coastal basins at incredible prices.
Here a video from an Australia (Mark Riley) balsa shaper worth checking: