The mopa-mopa seed harvest takes place within 6 months of the year, between May and November. During this time, gatherers live in the jungle in temporary camps called “Cambuche”. Each morning, they traverse the rugged mountain route and painstakingly collect the seeds. In total, they manage to collect about 6-9 kilograms. After covering the perilous distance between Mocoa and Pasto, known as the “trampoline of death,” they sell the product in town to local master craftsmen.
Dried mopa-mopa leaves are crushed, boiled and ground to make viscous resin. The raw material thus processed is kneaded by fingers, hit with a mallet and painted using natural dyes.
The next stage involves two masters stretching the material into a sheet-like flat surface. Only then do the artists cut out the desired patterns from the prepared material and use them to cover everyday objects – usually wooden, which are supplied by local carpenters.
Varnish of pasto is a technique symbolising an extraordinary union between artisans of different specialties, nature and ancestral heritage. Cultivated with attention to detail, respect for nature and handcrafted work, it is a type of art that does not yield to modern technology, fads and mass culture. For a brand like Dictador, you can’t wish for better company.