If you want to take a piece of Colombia to some part of the world, the best way is to buy a craft. You must know that each one is unique and carries a history, tradition and culture of an entire country. Not only is a creative product, it is the representation of artisan´s daily work and of several indigenous communities that aim to keep their traditions alive.
1. ‘Las Mochilas’ (bags): are woven and made by hand, useful to carry your personal items. In Colombia there are two very representative classes:
‘Mochila Wayúu’: these are made by women of the Wayúu indigenous community, in La Guajira, north-east of Colombia. They are made in crochet, a technique introduced by Catholic missionaries from Spain during the era of the conquest of America. They are done in around 25 days and are very colorful.
‘Mochila Arhuacas’: these are made by women of the Arhuaca ethnic group who inhabit the ‘Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta’. It is made with sheep wool in a traditional technique. It is characterized by colors in range of browns, beige and black.
2. ‘El sombrero Vueltiao’ (hat): it is made with the fiber of ‘caña flecha’, a type of plant that is cultivated, cut and brushed with traditional technique. The pints and geometric figures of this craft symbolize elements of indigenous culture linked to nature. The triangles represent the flower of the passion fruit, the rhombuses to the flower of the lemon, the triangles with diagonal lines to the spike of the corn, among others. In 2006, this hat was chosen as a national symbol.
3. ‘Chivas de barro’: are made of clay and represent the typical transportation of rural areas in Colombia used by farmers to move their crops and animals to market places. They were created for the first time 30 years ago in the department of Huila. This craft is very colorful.
4. The Colombian ‘ruana’: it is a square or rectangular blanket made of 100% virgin wool. It has no sleeves, only a hole in the center where the head goes through. It is a useful garment to protect from the cold and a symbol and patrimony of the nation. Around 60.000 ‘ruanas’ are produced per year. In Nobsa, in the department of Boyacá, an artisan makes five of these per day.
5. The filigree: it is a goldsmith technique that uses fine gold and silver threads to make pieces of jewelry. In Mompox, in the department of Bolívar, this ancestral activity has transcended from generation to generation since the arrival of Sevillian artisans to America in the 18th century.
This is a fair to share with the family, an encounter with the ancestral, magical and modern. The main scenario in Colombia to know the work of artisans and their products made of creativity.