10 Tropical Traditions for Temperate Climates


Get Crafty

If you have kids, wintertime can be particularly challenging. Art projects are always a creative and nurturing way to keep children's hands (and minds) productive. Introducing arts and crafts from other countries is a great way to learn about different cultures while still having fun. Folk art from the islands of Fiji is a perfect way to try your hand at these objects that have been created for centuries.

Fiji is a group of islands with a rich history that spans more than 35 centuries. Its inhabitants are made up of an influx of people from Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia and European explorers and traders [source: Lonely Planet]. The people of Fiji have distinct art forms that have been practiced for centuries -- pottery, woodcarving, basket making and mat weaving.

The practice of different art forms seems to be gender-based -- women have traditionally been potters and basket weavers, while men are the woodworkers [source: Fiji Guide]. In the thousands of years since these art forms have been created, they're still made with traditional tools and materials. The clay comes right from the earth, but you can obviously buy some from a craft store. Fijian pottery has never been adapted to a pottery wheel, so you can try making bowls or pots simply by building up the clay and shaping it. You can use rocks or cornhusks to smooth the clay, as well as make textures around the piece. Fijian pottery is never glazed, so once your piece is dry, you're finished.