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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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