In the dense jungle of the Chocó region live the Wounaan indigenous people, famous in the handicrafts world because of their fine woven baskets. They use the fibers of the Astrocaryum standleyanum palm tree, more commonly known as “Werregue”, to make what is considered the finest basketry in the country. 800 artisan families derive their livelihood from this technique.
The baskets are made with the spiral technique, using a cord such as “soul” or “gut”, spinning around it with a thinner thread. The fibers are dried in the sun and the thin threads are twisted and shined by friction.
The braiding constitutes of walls so solid that it even allows the transportation of water.
The manual skill of the artisan woman is shaping the container with decoration of geometric figures, schematic representations of men and animals, leaves and seeds, all coming from the imagination of the artisan, expressing in themselves the appreciation of the universe that indigenous people have.
Artisans that use this technique: Bamboleira, Arcenio Moya.
Wicker basketry is a traditional craft trade, very conditioned by the availability of the basic raw material.
Traditionally wicker basketry was an eminently masculine trade and was initially used as a complement to agricultural activity.
The functionality of these objects is associated with transport tasks, within the rural, agricultural and domestic spheres.
To elaborate wicker basketry successfully, certain steps must be followed, such as collecting the raw material during the waning quarter of the months of February and March, cutting and letting it dry against a wall and leaving it in a room without light, and finally, before starting the basketry work, the sticks must be soaked in water to give them the flexibility needed to be able to mold them into the desired design.
Artisans that use this technique: Diana Delgado
Using the “Iraca” palm fibers, the artisans have astonished the art crafts world with their designs of hats and other ornamental objects. The weaving technique used by artisans in the making of products in Iraca is one of the richest and most delicate in the entire territory of Colombia.
Using tools such as needles, scissors, tweezers and pliers, the artisans can make stitches such as: three passes, partridge eye, four passes, wicker, mat, catatumba, knuckle of four passes, chair bottom, embroidered rhombus, embroidered flower, flowers with petals and starfish flower.
Natural dyes extracted from seeds, leaves, bark, roots and minerals make it possible to obtain ranges of different colors (yellow gold, blue, green, terracotta, red wine, black).
During cooking, the artisan constantly turns the fiber so that the color is fixed evenly. Before letting the material dry in the shade, the buds are shaken, holding them on the stem, so that each of the straws close up and set.
Artisans that use this technique: Regia & Victoria, Sandra Muñoz, Alejo Tapias Studio .
Artisans use this technique for several items, one of which are hammocks. They transform natural cotton thread by giving it color with a variety of natural dyes. They use a vertical loom, handling with precision the technique that allows having fabric without seams. 2,000 artisan families derive their livelihood from this technique.
Artisans that use this technique: Damaris Buelvas.
It is the art of making decorative knots. The origin of the word Macrame derives from the Turkish word makrama, which has its origin in the Persian word mikrama with the same meaning.
When making a macrame design, the artisan uses the technique whilst forming drawings and patterns. To achieve this, they use threads, cords and ropes, amongst others.The basic macramé has numerous knots, among which the flat knot and the cote knot stand out, creating braids to decorate bags or fabrics, planters, lamps, wall hangings and curtains. In the current macramé there are different types of knots or braids that can be made, giving more personality to each design. Nowadays, more than 50 different knots can be found.
This technique was heavily imported into the Americas and specifically the Caribbean. Thanks to the macramé the locals gained the ability to craft items such as hammocks with this resistant ‘’weaving’’ technique, using strong materials such as leather, nylon, canvas or jute.
Artisans that use this technique: Oropendola.
This technique comes from the community of Guacamayas, inhabiting the mountains of Boyacá. Women of this community combine agriculture with cattle herding and are traditionally known for the production of a distinctive type of artisanal baskets that stand out for their multicolor patterns. They also make what is called ‘’cesteria en rollo’’, which is an ancestral art form that employs the spiral technique combined with the use of fique fiber, a very popular material in South America, together with pigments derived from vegetables, salt, aloe, plantain carpels, orange and lemon.
Artisans that use this technique: Omaira Manrique.