Meet the artisans below! Find out which artisan made your craft on the tag included with each product.
One man’s trash
is another man’s treasure.
Atelier Marie Raphael
Marie Raphael Workshop
In the southern city of Huye, a community of Catholic sisters runs a vocational training center for local youth. The small group of banana card makers was founded through the training center, and have become excellent in their craft.
To make the banana leaf cards, the artisans first collect the banana stalks which have been sloughed off of the outer layer of banana trees. Different trees have different colored leaves. The artisans then remove the outer layers of the leaf, front and back. The front of the leaf is usually textured, while the back is smooth. Using a paper pattern and a razor blade, the artisans cut the leaves into tiny pieces. They then work together, using a combination of white glue and cassava paste to painstakingly adhere the pieces of leaf onto the surface of the card. Sometimes, the artisans also incorporate pieces of remnant dress fabric from the seamstress trainees at the center. The result is greeting cards which creatively represent a small element of Rwandan beauty.