The Wounaan and Embera Indians from the rain forest of the Darien Province of Panama are master artisans. The women are still known for their fine baskets and the men for their wood and tagua carvings. These Baskets are hand woven using natural fibres found in the forest. A variety of plant and natural extracts are used with traditional methods for dyeing basket fibres. Seldom, if ever, are two baskets alike. The original designs usually portray life in the village, local animals and insects, or plant life. The quality of each basket is determined by the complexity of its design, the weave, and the time spent making the basket.
Cocobolo is a very special tree of hardwood that is native to the Emberá and Wounaan indigenous lands in Darien, Panama. It can grow very tall, up to 80 feet, and blooms with white flowers. Cocobolo tree wood is incredible; one of the most magical characteristics of this wood is its natural color and variations. The natural wood color ranges from a golden yellow to rich red, brown and black tones, depending on when the tree has been harvested. The men of the tribes have cocobolo wood carving as part of their artistic traditions for hundreds of years, parents teaching children.The themes of cocobolo wood carvings are usually inspired by nature that surrounds them like flowers and plants and animals that are native to their region.
Molas are the brightly colored appliqué panels made only in the SanBlas region of Panama by the Kuna Indians. The Kuna women observe the world around them, from geometric designs and mazes to animal and plant forms, and stitch what they see into stunning appliqué designs. A woman might spend up to a total of 100 hours completing a mola.
Tagua, also known as ivory nut, is the fruit of a palm (Phytelephas aecuatorialis) the extremely dense and hard nut is similar in look and feel to animal ivory. Palm ivory is Fairly Traded which secures the rights of marginalized producers by paying fair prices directly to them, therefore, improving the quality of life of a village artisan. In addition, the Tagua nut is a renewable resource which promotes rainforest preservation by providing a sustainable economic activity that does not involve the cutting down of trees.