BY JAYJAY MESAAC
IN 2019, following the inaugural opening of the arts and craft market centre in Honiara in November 2018, Merant Fabric Fashion was formed and now they are part of the various groups that sell and display local craftsmanship at the centre.
Merant fabric fashion group consists of women from Langalanga, Malaita province who share their cultural and traditional knowledge by reviving their traditional skills and talents.
“We have twenty members in our group and we focus mainly on jewelry, dying, weaving, and sewing of blouse since we started noticing tourist coming into our country and show interest in our traditional crafts and the way we develop our personality,” said Rosina Fa’arodo, chairlady of the group.
“Our members have both National and International experiences since they’ve been operating separate businesses until we decided to combine to form the group purposely to get accepted and offered an affordable room to display our crafts inside the new craft market centre building. Forming a group also gave us a high opportunity to represent our province and our cultural heritage in the past to regional and international arts festivals and other similar cultural festivals.”
Rosina noted that the group aims to continue selling their crafts until they might have enough to build their own shop to display and run their own business.
She said that there are many types of tourists; some tourist is just for photographing, some for designs only, others for carvings some for shell money and other for painting so they can choose what to buy in the Craft market.
“One of the major challenges we face is in turns of marketing since the competition is very high among us.
“Our group recognizes traditional methods and land rights as everyone is responsible for the carrying out of their own culture and identity in responsibility and dedication.
“Arrival of cruise ships is the best occasion for us, craft vendors, as tourists come and buy crafts and sharing their interest of what really matters for them on such Pieces of jewelry and floral and other different types of items displayed at the craft centre.
“The group strives to maintain its vision in keeping our culture alive and we urge the government to support us by bringing more tourists to our shore. We want those responsible to schedule monthly cruises by these cruise boats because the tourist is our only top customers,” Rosina Fa’arodo said.
Meanwhile, Fa’arodo also acknowledged the Ministry for allocating such a central location for traditional craftsmen and women to display and sell their work since other pacific countries do not have such facilities to market their crafts like Vanuatu and other countries in the Pacific.