Meet the people behind the bags...
Wayuu Artisans Are a Gift to The World
The Wayuu are one of the largest artisan communities in the world, dedicated to one line of products, manufacturing millions of items a year. No sweatshops! Just thousands of women weaving the patterns they dream. Their ancestors tell stories about the spider Wale Keru, who taught the women of the tribe how to make household items and tools. The vibrant colors and intricate patterns contrast beautifully against the yellows and oranges of the La Guajira desert.
Weaving and crocheting have the utmost cultural relevance for the people of the tribe. The rites of passage for women include becoming a master weaver and weave your mochila.
As technology has taken the place of many human activities and jobs, handmade items become a rarer commodity. The Wayuu Market allows people from all corners of the world to acquire a unique piece of handmade art. They are without a doubt, a gift to fashion and a gift to us!
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How Does the Wayuu Artisan Industry Start?
Whenever the Spanish colonizers occupied the region of La Guajira Colombia, the nuns taught the Wayuu women to crochet. The tribeswomen already knew many weaving techniques from their ancestors, but crocheting gave them new opportunities. They started developing and expanding their book of patterns, The Kanaas.
At first, the artisans would only weave the traditional items. With time, the need to join the local economy pushed them to come up with a fashion item. They were successful at creating a simpler version of their traditional bag, more colorful and faster to make. Evidently, outsiders connected to this product, and now is so popular it travels to all corners of the world. Prominent Hollywood people wear them, famous singers, royalty, and maybe you of course!
Most Wayuu products come from micro businesses that are born in the rural “Rancherias” or the cities. The majority of Wayuu artisans, connect with people in the markets and sell their bags there. The people in the market are at the center of the whole operation because they assemble all the products that come in pieces and continuously buy from the Wayuu. Some artisans are lucky to have a Wayuu master to help them connect with a vendor who could afford to pay them more. Some opt to for their own means of commercialization and try on the streets, little shops and some even get to the internet!
Learn more about the Wayuu Artisan Industry
Know the difference between “double thread” and “single thread.”
How Are We Helping Wayuu Artisans?
After getting to know the Wayuu, the industry, and their values we opened a Wayuu Artisan Marketplace. We are working closely with Individual artisans and merchants to provide a safe virtual space for buyers and sellers of La Guajira. The marketplace charges a minimum transaction fee to run operations, but the artisans set their affordable prices just for you! We also tell you their story and give them a voice in our company, so we do not lose our focus. Remember that the further you are the more expensive shipping and handling becomes. To counteract this, the more you buy, the more you save on shipping and handling so get together with friends and order a little or a big bunch!
Do you want to put you own Wayuu Bag together? Learn about more features like Build a Wayuu Bag!