This town is located in the northeast of Colombia in the andean region.The artisans from this area have developed the best skills through time, to make the most out of the fique fiber. They have figured out the way of transforming and experimenting with the plant with different weaving techniques, as their raw material. In Curití many traditional families learned to weave the fique by making coffee packing sacks back in the day. Today we work with several groups of artisans that have been passing the weaving knowledge from generation to generation. Most of the master artisans have weaved with their families for more than 20 years and continue the tradition with their sons and daughters, who carry on their expertise and keep the family businesses going.
San Agustín is located in the south of the Huila region, the central and eastern range surround this small town.Some of the artisan women that live here are master weavers and it is their main occupation. They weave with the fique plant or plantain fiber.These women inherited the tradition using the techniques of vertical wooden loom and crochet, passing on the knowledge to their daughters and other members of their community. They split their weaving activity with the house chores and agriculture. We work with Lisbina Becerra, master weaver, who leads Libertejidos, a group of 40 men and women.With them we develop our Huila Backpacks, creating different designs on the natural fiber textile.San Agustín weavers are distinguished for using the plantain fiber into very fine weaving.
We work with master artisan Juanita Castillo. She leads a group of 200 women who call themselves “Las Juanitas”. They all have learned to weave the Iraca palm as a tradition of their homeland, Sandoná, Nariño. Located in the south of the country, known for their traditional straw hats and commonly called the sweetest town of Colombia. All the artisans that master this craft have inherited this knowledge from past generations. Weaving is their main income resource, and over time they have innovated the technique to make all kinds of pieces, from hats to baskets and other home decor accessories. As Juanita says: “Weaving with love leaves a bit of our hearts in every piece we create”.
CAPITAL DISTRICT, COLOMBIA
Located sin the south of the city at the southern border of the Bogotá savanna is Ciudad Bolívar, where Reinaldo Niño, master artisan hand weaves our textile pieces. He and his team work with horizontal looms, where they neatly crisscross cotton threads in simple or combined ways with the weft and warp to achieve different line gauges and lengths across the textile to get various designs. Reinaldo masters this technique with wooden horizontal looms using pedals and instruments such as the shuttle and the comb combining the threads to get different textures and figures on the textile.
THE FIQUE PLANT
CURITÍ & SAN AGUSTÍN
The fique is native plant from the area, which is harvested along with other crops. There are families that plant them in their own lands and then sell it in the local markets for the artisans to acquire and process it at their workshops.The fique plant takes about 3 years to grow. When it is fresh, it is shredded into thin threads, which are then dried under the sun. When it is completely dried, they dye it or it is used in its natural color. The most important step is to comb it well so all the fibers are laid in the same direction to obtain a soft texture. They comb the fiber with a tool made out of nails. This is a process that requires a lot of physical strength to stretch out the fiber delicately so it gets as smooth as possible.Once it is combed smoothly, the fiber is twisted to create the skeins of fique, so they are ready to be weaved into the different techniques, as crochet or into a loom. We think these fique pieces offer a very nice balance between a wild and rustic material and a delicate and contemporary final piece.
CURITÍ & SAN AGUSTÍN
The Iraca palm also known as toquilla or palmiche, is a plant native to Latin America which grows in mild climate, mainly in shaded and fresh areas along rivers and creeks. To get the best quality of this natural fiber the plant must have strict and delicate care during its growth during 3 years until it is ready to be processed. Traditionally the plant is cut on a waning or full moon, since it is believed that this way the fiber will be stronger. The following step is to cut out the burned parts of the leaves. Then it is shredded using needles or compasses into very thin threads from 1 mm to 3 mm to get the best quality. It must be cleansed with hot (not boiling) water during 1 hour, then soaked again in fresh water for another hour. After it is cleaned properly, the fibers are dried outdoors over a rope. Once the fiber is completely dried, it’s ready to be used in its natural color or ready to be dyed and weaved.