An admirer and collector of ethnic art, Mariana Amaral, creative director of items, challenged designer Ana Neute in 2017 to create a collection using elements that rescued Brazilianness and something from our popular handicrafts. Days later, Ana brought us a multitude of options and materials. We fell in love with golden grass. The brightness, the rusticity, and the enchantment it provokes caught us and made us direct our gaze to an amazing place: the Jalapão.Mariana and Ana then packed their bags for this refuge hidden in the Tocantins hinterland for immersion in the community that would become an essential part of the creation of the BRUTA collection. “As the local saying goes," Jalapão is gross ". In contrast to this beautiful and wild brutality, which gave the collection its name, we are faced with the simplicity and lightness of the smiles of the women of Quilombo Mumbuca, true warriors led by the sweet "Doutora", a local healer, third generation of the woman who discovered the golden grass in this community. They spend their days weaving local gold. This skill is passed from mother to daughter and has no doubt: the true wealth of Jalapão is the people. At a time when freedom, sorority, and female empowerment are being discussed, everything fell into place by chance and, for us, it made perfect sense to realize that, from this moment on, we are helping to generate income in this very special community through a collection thought, designed, produced and marketed by women ”, celebrates Mariana. The BRUTA collection has a lamp, wall light, floor lamp, and a pendant.
Quilombo de Mumbuca and Capim Dourado Cultivation
In the center of Brazil, caatinga, rough and lush landscape, there is the Jalapão State Park. Its dry land with vegetation of gnarled trees with gray trunk, cracked and thick bark, orange dunes and turquoise water boils is the scenery of Quilombo de Mumbuca, located 8 hours of a red and sandy road in Palmas, capital of the State of Tocantins. With 150 inhabitants, the community has existed for almost 300 years and was named after a bee typical of the region. Originating from Indians and slaves from Bahia, the Mumbuca are a warrior people by nature who were introduced to us by two brave young women: Ilana Cardoso and Miria Tavares, both 31 years old, coincidentally the same age as designer Ana Neute at the time of the trip. The duo, despite all the bad weather in a life with few resources, went after university training and today travels Brazil playing the role of “public relations” of the community, creating projects and publicizing the work of its people. The use of golden grass for handicrafts has been happening in the Tocantins for over 70 years and a large part of the local income comes from its handicrafts. The harvest has the right season: it is only allowed between September and November, which guarantees the continuity of production for the following year. Another curiosity is that golden grass is not planted, it is sown in a swampy terrain, known as Vereda and is only born in this part of Brazil. In Quilombo de Mumbuca, the use of golden grass was discovered by Dona Laurina, and, since then¸ the art of weaving it has been passed down through the generations. Laurina's granddaughter, Noêmia Ribeiro da Silva, better known as a Doctor, is now responsible for “holding the golden grass flag”, as she says, an assignment that her mother received from her grandmother and passed on to her. The female and male roles are well defined in the community: women are responsible for harvesting the grass, in addition to mastering the art of weaving the material; men venture out by climbing the Buriti tree, which reaches up to 40m in height, to harvest the leaves that give rise to the silk that works as a sewing thread to braid the golden grass. The first works with the grass were in circular shapes. Hence the baskets, pots, hats, and other objects that were used initially in their homes. Its brilliance started to fascinate people and the pieces started to be commercialized.
By Ana Neute
When we thought about developing a new collection, the starting point was to bring to my work some reference of national handicrafts. After much research, we arrived at golden grass. Once the material was chosen, the challenge then was to apply it to the pieces exploring its best, which is its natural shine. The result of this work exalts the union of forces between the structure of a lamp made with factory technology produced in São Paulo embracing Brazilian handicrafts from the interior of Palmas (TO).I chose to work with golden grass in circular shapes and this choice was no accident. The circle, in addition to the aesthetic meaning, brings a strong theoretical meaning. It is an elementary shape, found in the shape of the Earth, in the eyes, in the belly of a pregnant woman, etc. It has no beginning or end and is comforting, it feels cozy. Circles protect, limit what's inside, and don't allow anything outside to enter. They offer security and connection, their movement suggests energy, and their complexity refers to infinity, unity, and harmony. In the structure of the luminaires, the golden grass circles are framed by brass discs. Together, they function as reflectors and dampers. The lamp is encapsulated by a glass globe that emits soft and filtered light, reinforcing the brightness of the grass. This encounter results in a unique illumination, like a sunset in a field of golden grass in Jalapão. BRUTA will have floor, wall, table, and ceiling options, with variations in size. In this collection, I explore some shapes that are already a reference in my work and the union of them with organic material is a new experience that resulted in pieces different from the ones I have already presented. I can say that this work celebrates the maturation of my exclusive partnership with itens: we did the whole process together, from the conception to the materialization of the pieces. Collection curator, Mariana developed the concept with me and named the collection after our trip to Jalapão. Together we get to know the community that weaves the grass, their lifestyle, and face the world. We live a process of collaboration and exchange from the beginning that should last and grow for many years to come. I believe that the designer is like a conductor, who orchestrates different instruments, materials, and techniques, bringing together people and experiences to carry out a project. So I am very proud of the result. BRUTA was born with much more than technique: it has good stories, different experiences, and successful partnerships.