Orangutan Foundation International (OFI) is a nonprofit organization focused on the conservation of wild orangutans and their habitat in Indonesian Borneo. OFI is comprised of Camp Leaky, the original and active site of Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas’ research, the Orangutan Care Center and Quarantine facility, as well as numerous outposts through Tanjung Puting National Park, primarily staffed by local Dayak peoples and international volunteers. The organization works to rehabilitate orangutans and protect the forest’s legacy.
Loren wanted to further her involvement with OFI through one of their short-term volunteer programs. She participated in the construction of a guard post and watchtower at Seluang Mas, a release site for rehabilitated orangutans. Although the threats to the survival of orangutans and their habitats were ubiquitous, the day-to-day life was joyful. Approximately 20 orangutans, 8 local Dayak staff, a newborn girl, 6 volunteers and a few dogs were the figures of daily life at camp. During the course of 3 weeks the local staff became family and the personalities of each orangutan familiar.
To express her support and gratitude toward OFI and the Dayak peoples, Loren has designed a collection of jewelry based off the indigenous jewelry she learned to weave from the Dayak staff using plant materials found in the rainforest. 50% of the proceeds from the Dayak Collection will be donated to OFI.
BEHIND THE METAL
Loren, having a strong background in textiles, immediately noticed the many woven bracelets and chokers the men were adorning. During the quiet humid nights, and despite a noticeable language barrier, Loren connected with the local staff, learning how to make these bracelets woven onto the body using plant fibers and porcupine quills.
In developing the collection, it only seemed suitable to cast the actual woven plant material. It was important to represent its imperfections, the texture of the plant fibers, the roughness of its finish. In doing so we have been able to capture their long-standing tradition of weaving and reflect the history of the staff at OFI.