Wayuu Shoulder Bag- Mochila Wayuu

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The Wayuu people are a native Colombian group living in  La Guajira in Colombia.  The Wayuu are the largest indigenous ethnic group in Colombia, organized in matriarchal structure. The Wayuu children carry their mother’s last name, making the Wayuu women the center of the family and cultural leaders as well.  One of the most important aspects of culture that the Wayuu women practice is the art of weaving Mochilas Wayuu bags.

Each Wayuu mother teaches to her daughter how to weave and passes from generation to generation. To the Wayuu, weaving is a symbol of wisdom, intelligence, and creativity.  Young Wayuu women learn to create Mochilas Wayuu bags. Each design included into every Mochila Wayuu bag is unique to the weaver, telling a story through the bag’s colors, shapes and patterns. Wayuu women work full days while weaving their Wayuu bags and can take up to a full month to complete one single bag.  The mochila Wayuu is now a priced urban fashion accessory. 450 artisan families derive their source of revenue from this technique

Caña Flecha

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It is a durable palm or type of cane that grows in the coastal regions of Colombia. With this fibre they produce a beautiful and colourful hand bags , accessories and the traditional  “sombrero vueltiao” hat.

The sombrero vueltiao is a traditional handmade hat from the Zenu community  in Colombia and one of its symbols.

It is made out of caña flecha, a durable palm or type of cane that grows in the region. The quality of the hat is determined by the number of fibres braided together to make the hat, and its bending flexibility. The more flexible the hat is the higher quality it is.

Making a “sombrero vueltiao”  is a lengthy process. First, the caña flecha leaves must be dried and the veins removed using a knife to obtain uniform strong strips. The strips are then dried in the sun until they turn from green to beige or white, and are sorted according to color. After about three or four days in the mud, the tinted strips are washed with cold water and boiled for at least a couple of hours. After this, the tinted strips are again dried in the sun for several days, and the coloring process is repeated until they have reached a uniform black color.

After the desired colors are obtained, the strips are woven into the braids that are used to form the hat. This can take many days, depending on the desired quality. The central part of the top of the hat is the first part of the hat to be woven. The crown of the hat and later the wings are made. Once the manual part of making the hat is finished, the hat is completed by using a foot-driven sewing machine to sew the hat together.

In the same way they design colorful hand bags  and accessories using the same technique. 2000 Artisan families derive their source of revenue from this practice.