Arts & Crafts in Pedasí

I know. I haven’t written on my blog for awhile, over a year now.  I have posted a few things of Facebook. I taken this year to reflect mostly. But grieving the loss of my son has and still is taking some time; there is no timetable and I have given myself permission to take as much time as needed. I am still receiving daily online Christian counseling. I certainly have not been moping around, just laying in bed and watching TV all day. I have tried to move forward, never forgetting my son, or the good memories of his life. I can’t continue to live in the past, although it may seem that way at times, especially when something on TV, or a certain song, or even another past memory sparks the memory of his actual drowning that is burnt in my mind. Then I have to surrender it over to God to help me move forward.  But now I emotionally and mentally decided it was time to return to some of the other things I enjoy doing such as writing in this blog. I want to thank my readers for your kind words of condolences. A few of my readers who have written me or spoken to me in person recently have encouraged me to continue, not specifically to write for them, but for myself. I have probably lost many of those who followed this blog, but there are more out there who may enjoy what I write. It doesn’t matter if what I write is mundane (thanks Kevin). Writing has always been good mental therapy for me. I probably will write only once or twice a month for now. Not putting pressure on myself; just write about everyday experiences living in Pedasí.

So in the past year I have slowly been trying new things and retuning to some old things as well. A long time ago I used to love doing different crafts. I haven’t really done much for awhile since I was working a lot before retiring here to Pedasí. One thing this little town offers is a lot of activities to join. With encouragement of my friends, I have joined different groups and classes and learned to create several different things. It all started before with a women’s group that met occasionally to create something like a painting, a wind chime, a candle, etc. combined with food & wine.


Then my friend Sue invited me over to start making some more things together. Being near the beach, there is an abundance of seashells, driftwood, and sea glass. And since I love walking along the shore, it stands to reason that I could collect all these items and make something out of them. So first it was stringing seashells to make wind chimes, adding old beads, buttons, driftwood, etc. as I continued to make more. Sue had a dremel I could use to drill the holes & a high-temp glue gun.  I have hung them around the veranda and patio. I now want to make one out of the sea glass I have collected. I bought my own high-temp glue gun and plan to purchased a drill kit recently. Then I made a seashell wreath which was like putting a puzzle together (I love puzzles), trying to fit the shells, driftwood, and sea glass around the styrofoam ring. I plan to be making another one soon along with other items with the same materials.

Next I joined free workshops offered at the Proyecto Azuero nonprofit organization. There I learned how to make earrings & coasters out of pine needles and weave baskets out of “Cogollo”, fiber or straw from a plant used to make the official “Pintao” Panamanian hat, not to be confused with the Panama hat that is made in Equador out of the toquilla palm plant. Mikkel kids me that I have returned to college to take basketweaving 101. Anyway, the baskets we made were similar to those made by the Wounaan/Embara Panamanian indigenous groups. We even took a field trip out to a finca in the hills and walked in the rain to see what the plant looked like and how the straw was made out of the large leaves. It is now considered a rare plant and the straw is expensive to purchase; hence why the “Pintao” Panamanian hat can be very expensive to purchase. The Proyecto Azuero has plans to plant about 500 Cogollo seedlings this year, hoping to make it more plentiful & available. Sue and I found a man in Las Tablas who sells Cogollo straw and we purchased some to make more baskets in the future.

Proyecto Azuero later had a workshop to show us how to carve things out of gourds called Totumas. Gourd trees grow throughout the region including in the town. By carving designs out on the outside, then hollowing out the inside, and then allowing to air dry, you can make drink cups (very popular), planters, wall hangings, etc. I had bought two of these already made cups previously, not realizing what they were actually made from. This time I carved a butterfly and made a small planter.

I attended a couple of classes elsewhere to learn how to make “Tembleques”, the beaded headpieces worn with the traditional “Pollera” dress. It involves very intricate small beads and a lot of counting & time. A full headpiece would include 24 Tembleques on each side. I only made one Tembleque in each class. Tembleque means wiggle or wobble because they do just that when worn on the head.

A local Art Center has opened up on Pedasí and I have taken a few classes offered there including one of the tambleque classes and another painting with acrylics. Never considered myself much of an artist, but I do have my painting of a turtle on the wall above my desk at home now. I wouldn’t say it is anything that could be sold at a showing, but it is my masterpiece.

We were in the news.

Several of us took a folk-dancing class at the Art Center awhile back. We learned two Panamanian folk dances, one with a partner. Later we presented our dances at a show at the Art Center in full costume. A lot of work, but really fun and we were well received by the local Panamanians. Hope I can do it again if another class is scheduled.  I was really looking forward to dancing in the “Desfile de Las Carretas: (Cart Parade) this year, but unfortunately I contracted cellulitis in my leg again and had to keep off of it for about a week. And the Art Center has closed for now, but there are other opportunities and venues.

I now have set up a small table on the back patio and shelves with art supplies, seashells, etc to start doing projects on my own. Besides walking on the beach, arts & crafts gives me a sense of comfort and satisfaction. Add some music and I am fine creating new things even if they are just for my own pleasure for now. 

No one can really say there isn’t anything to do in Pedasí. If one gets bored, they really have no one to blame but themselves. Besides the workshops and classes I have attended, there are many more activities offered here – writing & drawing classes, reading to children, Spanish lessons, teaching English & Art to children, beautification projects, reforestation projects, whale watching, fishing, photography & business courses, an exercise gym, Zumba, Belly Dancing, live music & dancing, Karaoke, Women’s groups, Men’s groups, Children’s groups, beach clean-ups, Sea turtle egg watches to protect against poachers, Animal Advocates (which I am also a member of) for low-cost sterilization clinics & pet care education, drum & ukulele lessons, etc., etc., etc. And there is always a walk on the beach or around town. This Sunday Mikkel and I have signed up for a tile mosaic class. There is something that should interest everyone looking for something to do.

Well, this was fun. Maybe I’ll write some more soon in my spare time between all my activities. We’ll just have to wait and see.


3 thoughts on “Arts & Crafts in Pedasí

  1. Edward Rumsby says:

    Sorry to hear about the loss of your son. Hope your friends, family and activities ease your pain. Great post that shares how great and supportive the people of Pedasi are. I certainly miss it and have very fond memories of my visit there. Be well.

  2. Winifred Wilson says:

    So happy to see this post from you and to read your update. I was so sad to learn about your son and am horrified that somehow I must have missed reading about your loss when it happened. I am sending deepest condolences to you even although I am late. Please continue to write your blog and also continue your healing.

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