This photo shows samples of Fig Pith Sculpture. The white pith is removed from a dried fig branch and thin tissue paper like sheets are carefully removed with a razor. These slices are then cut into delicate shapes to create the tiny sculptures.
The slightest breath or stir in the air will blow the cuttings away. Just thinking about this as I write makes me hold my breath. The calamity of a sneeze must be very tragic indeed.
There is a woman I contacted on the island of Fayal who teaches this and I would love to learn how to do it. Someday when I have the time and the money to travel there and stay for a while I will take a class.
When Mark Twain visited the port on the island of Faial in approximately 1868 on his way to Europe he found the people there repulsive and the women covered in capotes ridiculous. I believe he called the Azoreans 'yahoos.'
As for Twain's comments I forgive him. He also had strong negative opinions of the French. And most likely was formidable in his opinions of everyone in general though I'm sure he kept some of these thoughts to himself.
From time to time you can find old postcards of women dressed in these period costumes.
Of course the museums on the islands have more information if you happen to go there. When I take a trip I will gather more information to share.
There is also information on the Two Azorean Chicks website.