THE WAYÚU CRAFT

UNIQUELY DESIGNED AND MADE BY
THE WAYÚU'S SKILLFUL HANDS 

4 KEY FEATUREs of OUR WAYÚU CRAFTS 

Typical Wayúu costumes, north of La Guajira, Colombia

THEY HAVE AN ANCESTRAL ORIGIN

The Wayúu are an indigenous group that have preciousy preserved their cultural practices across time. One of the ways by which the Wayúu have preserved their enormous cultural wealth is through weaving - taught according to the myth by the spider or Wale' Kerü - their traditionally designed and colourful handicrafts.

Typical Wayúu costumes, north of La Guajira, Colombia

Typical Wayúu costumes, north of La Guajira, Colombia

Wayúu artisan weaving with Mawisa palm, La Macuira.

made of natural and simple materials

The Wayúu straw hats and hand bags, along with the world famous mochilas are made out of natural materials which can be found in the vicinity of the Wayúu territory.

The Mawisa palm from which the hats and bags emerge can be found in abundance in the Serrania de la Macuira and the Serrania del Perijá. This incredibly strong and flexible material allows the making of pieces that will endure the harshest environments without loosing its strength and aesthetic qualities.

The cotton fibres used in the mochilas (as well as in their traditional hammocks, among other pieces) are woven using in a unique technique characteristic of the Wayúu. Using this technique they are able to portray astonishingly beautiful patterns and figures as well as achieving the necessary strength to be used in the arid desert and under the intense sun of La Guajira.

MADE OF NATURAL AND SIMPLE MATERIALS

The Wayúu straw hats and hand bags, along with the world famous mochilas are made out of natural materials which can be found in the vicinity of the Wayúu territory.

The Mawisa palm from which the hats and bags emerge can be found in abundance in the Serrania de la Macuira and the Serrania del Perijá. This incredibly strong and flexible material allows the making of pieces that will endure the harshest environments without loosing its strength and aesthetic qualities.

The cotton fibres used in the mochilas (as well as in their traditional hammocks, among other pieces) are woven using in a unique technique characteristic of the Wayúu. Using this technique they are able to portray astonishingly beautiful patterns and figures as well as achieving the necessary strength to be used in the arid desert and under the intense sun of La Guajira.

Wayúu artisan weaving with Mawisa palm, La Macuira.

Wayúu artisan weaving with Mawisa palm, La Macuira

Kaanás, Wayúu's ancestral symbology.

Each piece is uniquely designed

The Wayúu handicrafts are rich in traditional designs called kaanás (art of weaving drawings). This ancestral figures and patterns dates back to the pre-Colombian era and due to their great beauty and colourful are the most appreciated among the Wayúu and employed in the making of their pieces.

The kaanás reflect the most authentic expression of how the Wayúu interpret and abstract elements of their material world and everyday life, to create stylised forms of great symbolism; among them include turtle shells, the cow's tripes, the fish's eyes, and constellations of stars, among others.

They are typically geometrical compositions that are repeated throughout the fabric. Each of these patterns are given a name in Wayuunaiki (Wayúu's native tongue) which expresses its significance.

Kaanás, Wayúu's ancestral symbology.

Kaanás, Wayúu's ancestral symbology.

They emerged out of the necessity of the Wayúu

These crafts are the result of the harsh life conditions in the desert. La Guajira is covered in its majority by an arid desert and hit by an intense sun almost all year round.

Apart from adapting to these conditions, the Wayúu are settled in 'rancherias' which are small settlements in which only one family lives and which are located isolated from other 'rancherias'. Thus, very few towns exist in this desertic land.

The hats -to cover from the sun-, mochilas -to resist the transport of goods for long distances-, hammocks and 'chinchorros' -to provide a ventilated and sheltered place to sleep and rest-, as well as their traditional dresses have all emerged out of necessity and to facilitate the everyday life of the Wayúu. 

Wayúu man and son in the Guajira desert wearing traditional costumes, north of La Guajira, Colombia.

Wayúu man and son in the Guajira desert wearing traditional costumes, north of La Guajira, Colombia.

The wayúu craft in modern life

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