On Columbus Day, we celebrate by taking the journey of exploration and discovery of the Americas. The indigenous culture of the Americas has its DNA preserved in today's handicrafts, which, from raw materials to artisanal craftsmanship, shine with splendid ancient origins dating back to the pre-Hispanic era. 

Columbus Day - Backstrap Weaving

To the ancestors of the Maya, Inca, and Aztec, weaving was extremely important
and highly valued - almost every woman wove, and textiles were once used as
currency. Among them, Inca weavers were considered the most accomplished.
 They often wove on backstrap looms, a heritage that has been passed down
through generations and still lives today.

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Columbus Day - Wool of the Highlands

Shepherds in the highlands shear their sheep every summer. The wool is washed,
carded, then roved into yarn. Colors such as beige,light brown, dark brown, and
black come naturally from the sheep. When other colors are desired, artisans
obtain natural dyes from bark trees and local flowers.

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Columbus Day: Alpaca

Shorn once a year from the world's oldest domestic livestock, this warm,
lightweight, and luxurious fiber from South America is not only gentler on
our environment, but also safer for anyone who uses them.

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Columbus Day: Pottery in Oaxaca

A rich culture of pot making has existed in Oaxaca for hundreds of years.
In more than seventy pottery villages, the techniques of shaping, firing, and
glazing have passed down and refined through generations to improve the
appearance and functionality of the final products.

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Columbus Day: Women Entrepreneurs

In the spirit of Columbus's adventure, these women entrepreneurs are working with
indigenous craft-makers to expand the horizon of design, handicraft, and economic
opportunity for their local artisan communities, bringing fresh inspirations to
the preservation and revival of centuries-old practices.

Get to know Ximena Rozo, Andrea Benavente, and Fernanda Sibilia.

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Wayuu: More Than A Bag
Wayuu: More Than A Bag

Wayuu women have become today's world-renowned master weavers. Their mochila, a type of shoulder bag decorated with vibrant one-of-a-kind patterns, hangs comfortably thanks to its sturdy belt straps and displays character with its chunky pom-poms, is catching the eyes of fashionistas across the world. A mochila bag can take up to one month to complete by its maker, using the weaving and crocheting techniques that have been passed down from mothers to daughters for hundreds of years. 

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