Charango

Charango

Carved
Carved

Painted
Painted
Front, 10 strings
Front, 10 strings
wood burnt design
wood burnt design
in Potosi, Bolivia.  Street sign : Potosi, birthplace of the Charango. by Carlos Adampol Galindo album Sucre Plaza de Armas, Bolivia
in Potosi, Bolivia.
Street sign : Potosi, birthplace of the Charango.
by Carlos Adampol Galindo album Sucre Plaza de Armas, Bolivia

The charango is a small Andean stringed instrument of the lute family, originated in Quichua and Aymara populations in post-Columbian times, after America met the stringed instruments as they were known in Europe, and surviving in what are today the Andean regions of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, north of Chile and the northwest of Argentina, where it is widespread as a popular music instrument.
About 66 cm long, the charango was traditionally made with the shell of the back of an armadillo (quirquincho, mulita), but also it can be made of wood which is informed as a better resonator than the first one and it’s the most common material found today, eventually there can be found charangos for children made of any of these or of calabash. Many contemporary charangos are now made with different types of wood. It typically has 10 strings in five courses of 2 strings each, but other variations exist.
The charango is primarily played in traditional Andean music, but is sometimes used by other Latin American musicians. A charango player is called a charanguista.

Parts of the Charango wikipedia
Parts of the Charango
wikipedia

The typical construction is a one-piece body and neck, classical guitar style peghead and machine tuners (occasionally positioned perpendicular to the headstock), spruce top, and some degree of ornamentation. Variations include a separate glued-on neck, palisander or ebony vertical tuning pegs, guitar-style box construction, or even a hollowed-out neck. Another variety is a neck with two holes bored 3/4 of the way through, parallel to the fretboard and close to the headstock (an innovation said to color the instrument’s tone). The size and shape of the soundholes is highly variable and may be dual crescents, round hole, oval hole, or even multiple holes of varying arrangement.
More recently solidbody electric and hollowbody acoustic-electric charangos are coming on the scene. The solidbodies are built very much as miniature electric guitars, whereas the acoustic-electrics are usually more like a standard acoustic charango.
In his book The Motorcycle Diaries, Che Guevara describes an instrument that he identified as a charango while near Temuco, Chile in 1952. It was “made with three or four wires some two meters in length stretched tightly across tins fixed to a board. The musician uses a kind of metal knuckle duster with which he plucks the wires producing a sound like a toy guitar.”

Citing
Wikipedia, Charango http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charango
Youtube videos about charango instrument

Alpaca

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Alpaca is getting a lot more attention these days, now that people are starting to notice how it tends to outperform other fibers like wool and synthetics. And why shouldn’t it? Alpaca fleece has been around for millennia — even the ancient Incan kings recognized the alpaca’s unique qualities and reserved the “fiber of the gods” for use by only the wealthy and influential.
But less is known about the proper care and cleaning of alpaca garments. Although alpaca clothing can last for years, too many people ruin their alpaca garments — or shy away from buying them in the first place — simply because they don’t know how to clean and care for them. Fortunately, you don’t have to be one of them. Read on to learn all about alpaca and keep your garments silky and soft for years to come!
Alpaca is different
Alpaca is a breed apart when it comes to natural fibers. Stronger, softer, lighter, and warmer than either merino wool or cashmere, it’s a natural choice for winter clothing and accessories. It’s also resistant to pilling and won’t shrink if proper care is given, making it possible to keep your alpaca clothing for years, even decades!
Alpaca fleece is famous for its luxurious softness and doesn’t scratch or “prickle” the skin like wool products. It’s also hypoallergenic since it doesn’t contain lanolin, an oil generated by sheep that can cause sensitivity in people with dermatological disorders.
As if silkiness and versatility weren’t enough, alpaca makes highly wear-resistant garments: its strength reduces stretching and distortion, and grease and oil don’t spot alpaca as easily as they do other fibers. Due to alpaca’s water-resistant properties, you can simply blot away any spills. And the nature of the fiber reduces static electricity, which attracts dust and soil.
The alpaca itself is a wonderfully gentle, intelligent, and curious animal — most of the time. While they make great pets, you must never cross an alpaca unless you want to receive a face full of half-digested stomach contents and saliva that an angry alpaca hurls at you while “spitting!”
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Alpaca is eco-friendly
Alpacas are considered some of the “greenest” animals around. Their adaptations for living in harsh environments like the Andes give them a light eco-footprint: soft pads in place of hooves leave terrain undamaged, and their efficient eating habits result in greatly reduced water and acreage needs relative to other grazing animals.
Alpaca is also sustainable because an alpaca can produce fleece throughout its life without being harmed. When late spring arrives in the Andes (late fall here in the Northern Hemisphere) and the weather warms up, alpaca ranchers shear their animals for their annual “clip.” While alpacas don’t usually enjoy the shearing process itself, they are noticeably more comfortable after their annual “haircut.”
Because alpaca is naturally free of lanolin and other oils found in sheep’s wool, no harsh chemicals are needed to process alpaca fiber, making alpaca ranching 100% natural and safe for the environment.
Fleece lovers looking to reduce their environmental impact look to alpaca because with proper care, it’s virtually indestructible and can be worn for years, reducing the demand for new products. Alpaca garments dating back over 2000 years in Peru are still in good condition — just think of how many trends and fashion crazes that new alpaca sweater will see you through!

How to clean your alpaca clothing
1. Fill a clean sink or tub with cold water and a small amount of mild liquid detergent like baby shampoo or a fine fibers formula. (Using hot water, or even two different temperatures of water, will “shock” the fibers, making them mat together and start turning into felt.) Do not use chlorine bleach or even gentle Woolite, as these harsh cleaners will cause damage.
2. Soak the garment for 3 to 5 minutes, gently squeezing the suds through the garment. Avoid twisting, wringing, scrubbing, or otherwise agitating it, as this will cause felting. Dyed garments will have some chance of bleed, but since alpaca fiber takes dyeing better than most other fibers, this shouldn’t be a problem after the first wash.
3. Rinse the garment twice in clean, cold water and gently squeeze out the excess. Be gentle handling it to avoid wrinkles and distortion.
4. Lay the garment between two towels, roll up the towels and set it aside for a few minutes.
5. Place the garment on a dry towel or sweater rack and reshape (do not hang to dry). Let it dry away from sunlight and direct heat.
6. If the garment is wrinkled after drying, you can steam it lightly with an iron, or simply hang it up in the bathroom, run the shower, and let the steam ease away the creases.
If you don’t have the time to hand-wash your alpaca garments, you can always take them to a professional dry-cleaner. Bring along any labels or care tags that came with the garment, and be sure to point out any spots and stains so they can use the best method to remove them.
How to store alpaca clothing
Alpaca clothing can last for decades, but its greatest enemies are moths and other pests that cause damage during storage. (Although certain dogs have been known to love the scent of alpaca!) If you need to put your alpaca away during warmer months, give it a good clean first following the instructions above — pests are drawn to dirt and body oils on fibers.
You can keep pests away from any garment by storing it in a chest of inspect-repelling Spanish cedar, or by placing cedar chips in the storage area. To keep away moths, use lavender bundles (although chemical moth balls will do as well).
A shirt box, clean pillow case, clean paper bag, or cardboard box will keep the air circulating around the garment. Never use plastic or dry cleaning bags for your alpaca, as this will cause moisture to build up and the fibers will felt. And like any other knit garment, alpaca clothing should be folded rather than hung to prevent stretching and distortion.
Love your alpaca and it will love you back
Wearing alpaca during the colder months is an easy way to look distinctive and sophisticated while feeling comfortable and cozy. Love and care for your alpaca clothing and you’ll feel the warmth and coziness of the Andes’ most interesting and lovable animals. Neglect it and . . . well, we did warn you what might happen if you cross an alpaca!

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This information is from Novica, by Allison Dial http://blog.novica.com/how-to-clean-and-care-for-alpaca-products/

Wood Vases

Most of the wood vases that we have are made by Don Oscar Maute, an artisan of  German descent who was born in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
In this picture we can appreciate the creativity of Don Maute, he is displaying Bomboneras (bowls with a lid) and Jewelry boxes.

Don Oscar Maute
Don Oscar Maute

bombonera3bombonera1-2 morado vase 65 too

Vase
Vase

The wood vases that we have are made of two different woods, Morado and Guayacan.
Don Oscar Maute is a very skillful artisan who works in the turning of wood. He makes wonderful looking pieces using different types of wood such as Morado and Guayacan.
Don Oscar finds his material at lumber yards, he carefully chooses from scraps for the material that will help him create his master piece. Morado and Guayacan are hardwoods that are used in Bolivia for floors and are in high demand, so it is no wonder that artisan Don Maute has a hard time finding material to create his pieces.

Here is some information about these exotic woods
Morado: the common names of this wood are Pau Ferro, Morado, Bolivian Rosewood, Santos Rosewood. The scientific name is Machaerium spp.
It is called Bolivian Rosewood because it has many characteristics that are similar to the family of rosewoods, but it is not a true Rosewood.

Pau Ferro (Machaerium spp.)
The color can be highly varied, ranging from reddish/orange to a dark violet/brown, usually with contrasting darker black streaks. Narrow sapwood is a pale yellow and is clearly demarcated from the heartwood. The grain is typically straight, though sometimes slightly irregular or interlocked depending on the species. Fine, even texture and a naturally high luster—though depending on the particular species, the wood can have a coarser, more fibrous texture.
Pau Ferro is considered overall to be of fair workability, as it can blunt the cutting edges of tools, and any irregular grain has a tendency to tear out during machining operations. Also, many of the same challenges in gluing rosewoods are common to Pau Ferro as well. Pau Ferro turns and finishes well.
Common uses of Morado include veneer, musical instruments, cabinetry, flooring, interior trim, turning, and other small specialty wood objects.
Guayacan: The common name for this wood is Lignum Vitae, latin for tree of life or wood of life. The scientific name is Guaiacum Officinale.
The heartwood color can range from a pale yellowish olive, to a deeper forest green or dark brown to almost black. Grain has a unique feathered pattern when viewed up close. The color tends to darken with age, especially upon exposure to light. The grain is interlocked, sometimes severely so. Has a very fine texture and an oily feel. Bare wood can be polished to a very fine luster due to its high natural oil content.
This wood is considered quite difficult to work because of its extremely high density, but it is an exceptional wood for turning on the lathe and finishes well.
Lignum Vitae is regarded by most to be both the heaviest and hardest wood in the world, its natural oils provide self-lubrication that gives the wood excellent wear resistance. Lignum Vitae is now an endangered species. Verawood –a related wood species with similar working properties and characteristics –is commonly used as a substitute, and is sometimes called Argentine Lignum Vitae. Both woods are extremely hard, heavy, oily, and have a feathered grain pattern with a distinct brownish olive color.
Common uses for this wood are tool handles, mallet heads, bearings, bushings, pulley wheels, and turned objects.
Interesting facts about the Guayacan tree:
A tree that stands out in Panama and other Latin American countries is the Guayacan tree due to its stunning beauty. The botanical name is Tabebuia guayacan (Bignoniaceae).
The Guayacan tree and flower is symbolic in Latin America. For example; Tabebuia chrysotricha is the national flower of Brazil. Tabebuia rosea is the national tree of El Salvador and the Tabebuia chrysantha is the national tree of Venezuela. As a matter of fact, on May 29, 1948, Tabebuia chrysantha was declared the national tree of Venezuela due to its extraordinary beauty. Its deep yellow resembles the Venezuelan flag. It is one of about 100 species of Tabebuia.
Its wood is considered among the strongest and finest in the world. Proof of this are the timber frames in the ruins of the Panama Cathedral, which are still strong after more than 400 years.

Citings

The Wood Database http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/pau-ferro/
The Guayacan Tree https://epiac1216.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/the-guayacan-tree/

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