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Many of the pieces that are made here at Mushpa + Mensa, use little, medium and larger seeds from the amazon rain-forest, collected specifically from Ecuador.
As a native Ecuadorian, I am able to travel back to my childhood country, bring my lady with me, and browse though many of the outdoor markets that sell these wonderful seeds, which we then take and make our eco-jewelry from.
So what are the three seeds?
The largest of all the seeds is tagua, although in other Latin American countries it can be referred to as vegetable ivory, palm ivory, marfim-vegetal, corozo, or jarina, the seeds all still derive from the same genus of palms: Phytelephas. There as six known species of this palm that thrive from Panama, to Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru.
Often it is referred to as “eco-ivory” because it has the same characteristics of elephant ivory, as it can be carved very easily as well as dyed with different colors, and it is hard and unbreakable and can be polished beautifully.
The female palm is the one that bears the fruit, which falls from the trees and inside it holds usually 4 individual nuts. The immature fruit is usually sweet and soft, while the mature fruit has transformed into a harder that wood nut covered in a brown shell, which can later be used for multiple projects, like our tagua necklaces!
The second seed we often use is called pambil, and it is another palm from the Ecuadorian rain forest. This palm tree known scientifically as Iriartea deltoidea, which can grow between 20-35 meters tall and can be “easily recognized by the prominent bulge in the center of its trunk, and the stilt roots, which form a dense cone up to 1 m in diameter at the base.” It is also surrounded by a brown shell covering that can be removed and either left naturally as a cream color, or can be dyed as well.
This is the smallest of the seeds we use. It is pronounced ah-s-ah-ee, and it is found in the tropical Amazon rain forest. It has recently been popularized in the United States as a super food for its rich antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and you can find it in juices, body products and supplements.
It has also been used by indigenous tribes for centuries as one of their most important sources of daily nutrition, and has been cultivated also for building materials and artisan crafts using its palm leaves and seeds. It also mostly cultivated as a source for hearts of palm! Delicious.
But here at the Mushpa + Mensa studio, we use it as the third in the trio of our sustainable seed collection.
All of these seeds are free from petroleum based products like many conventional beads, and free from animal cruelty. They are harvested by local communities as a source of income, and their popularization in recent years has allowed for many of these communities to build themselves up from the sustainable sources that the tropical rain-forests of Ecuador provides.
Now that you have a better knowledge of our trio of seeds, take a look at our shop and see what inspires you!
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The first week of November is here which means some people are starting their Holiday shopping and others are finishing it. We here at Mushpa + Mensa want to get into the game by offering our super fans a free shipping code on any and all purchases. This code is HoHoHo! It will be in affect until January 1st, 2016. You can start out getting an amazing handmade Gingerbread Peep made of felt created using recycled plastic bottles for your Christmas tree. You’re welcome!
Let’s get this holiday party started!!!
Mushpa + Mensa
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Happy Labor Day to all! For those who don’t know what Labor Day is all about, here is the skinny. Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement (mostly promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor in NYC). Groover Cleaveland made it official in 1887. Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
We here at Mushpa y Mensa strive to contribute to the strength, prosperity and well being of our country, world and universe in everything we do. From the meaning we put into our art, to all the people we come in contact with at amazing events where we end up and through our online presence. We are blessed to have this job that pushes us to learn so many things from others and hopefully we give back as much to them.
Here is something tangible we can give back today, on the 2nd largest sale date of the year! ;] A free shipping promotion code MAYA007!!! This will get you out of shipping charges on any item(s) at our Etsy Shop. Exciting!!! 😀 Click below to get to our shop and check out our original designs on organic cotton tees, tanks and tops, plush pets with felt made from recycling plastic bottles and stuffed with real lavender, eco-jewelry, coffee and tea cozies made from unique, refurbished fabric amongst tons of other cool stuff. Spread the word!
– Mushpa y Mensa
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I was power surfing and promoting Mushpa y Mensa last night and came across these photos on the World Wide Web I thought were worth sharing with you all.
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We got into the Leaf Festival. I was unaware of how much I was pulling away from faith, mysticism and the Truth until I watched this video. I have been worrying about bills, money, and bullshit and forgetting about miracles, beauty and truth. Logistics are a lie. I am blessed and amazing and God is good. I’ve got nothing to worry about.
Everything is better than okay. I got into the Leaf Festival and have nothing to fear but fear itself.
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Hello Mushpa y Mensa Super Fans!
Yes, you see right, it’s Mushpa y Mensa’s Super Summer update, after a few months of silence. We are happy to say that in the last three months, Mushpa y Mensa have begun their “Gypsy Market Life”. Already, on this journey, we have met quite a few amazing people, like the folks at Seaglass Salvage Market, Brooklyn Arts Center, Beacon House Inn, and Satellite Lounge to name a few. We have also danced and tasted many sweet wines at the Duplin Winery’s Main Squeeze Music and Wine Festival, as well as met dozens of new, fun people at the annual Azalea and Strawberry Festivals in North Carolina. ;] We even partnered up with Wilmington’s Earth Day Alliance and enjoyed a wonderful Earth Day Celebration at Hugh MaCrae Park.
It’s been surreal so far.
It’s amazing what faith, love, encouragement, and a little help from our friends can do. In terms of our little cottage industry, we are, as you say, busting a hump. We are constantly checking ourselves on how we can make things better from our art, to our business, to our life.
We have actually just updated the “Photos of Our Peeps” page on Mushpa y Mensa’s site. We added a photo uploading tool, so you can upload pictures of you in our organic tees, wearing our amazing jewelry, hugging our lavender filled plush pets, or even just keeping your hands cool with one of our coffee cozies. :]
And in terms of our Art? Well we keep on bringing to life tons of ideas in our head. For example, we recently created 3.5 new shirt designs. A cool Octopus Olivia with an Anchor Tattoo on her forehead,as well as R6: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Replenish, Reflect, Reimagine inspired by Earth Day.
We also have new organic Pima cotton relaxed fit tops that are flying out of the truck. Here is an example of the Pima tops with one of our new designs, Argema Mittrei, a female moth. Lastly, we spruced up Robot Girl and added a cute heart. All these designs we print for the ladies, the gents, and of course the smallest people around.
Mushpa y Mensa have also been focusing on custom shirts that have been selling off Maya so fast we don’t even have time to list them on our Etsy shop!
Spread the art, spread the love.
A few questions answered…
Where can I find the Art Truck?
Follow us on Twitter @mushpamensa. We are constantly posting when and where we will be. There is also an events page on our site, www.mushpaymensa.com/events we keep updated, but Twitter is best for the most up to date information.
We are doing some art shows, markets and fleas, but are hunting to find good spots to park around town. We are partnering up with cool people like the folks at the Beacon House Inn on Carolina Beach and Satellite Bar and Lounge in Wilmington.
And for all the natives and people in the know, since we are new in town, feel free to hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org or our contact page with any ideas where to park, festivals to do or whether you’d like us to rock a party or event with you!
Are you going on the road anytime soon?
We want to explore the grounds of NC and the surrounding area, so we will keep the max to weekend trips. But worry not, we will definitely be making it into the mid-west and west-coast! Maybe even an occasional trip to NYC sooner than you think!
Until the next super exciting Mushpa y Mensa’s and Maya, Magical Mobile Art Machine update we say good day!
With lots of love,
Cara and Maria Emilia
Moving to Wilmington, North Carolina after living in NYC for over 16 years seems like a big deal, but it wasn’t. Change is a good thing. Life is good. You find all sorts of amazing people and things here you can’t find up North. For one, people are nice and swimming in the ocean I don’t bump into dirty diapers or needles. I said it. :]
Anyway, I decided I am going to start to highlight my new life in the South and the people I run into. Tonight’s southern star is a bartender at Front Street Brewery who wowed us with his glass magic.
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Guess where we are going to be this weekend… That’s right the Spring Flea at The Brooklyn Arts Center! :]
Renowned as the “ultimate vintage flea” and attended by more than 1,500 shoppers and dozens of vintage vendors from around the region, The Spring Flea is a three-day event that will again be the go-to shopping experience of the season—with a wide array of vintage, retro, and up cycled treasures—and tons of fun, with Wilmington’s finest food trucks feeding the crowds, a coffee shop in the courtyard, and the BAC cash bar serving liquid refreshments.
See you there.
-Mushpa y Mensa