In the Wayúu shoulder bag I take with me on my travels all over the world, I carry the best memories of Colombia, a marvelous land.
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To the Wayúu Indian communities that inhabit the Peninsula of La Guajira, knitting is much more than a cultural activity and a legacy from their ancestors. It is a way to express feelings about their life concept by means of creativity, intelligence, and wisdom.
The products of Wayúu knitting capture the attention of many for their colors and designs and the complexity of their technique. Typical motifs are geometrical figures that represent the natural elements (animals, plants, stars, tracks, etc.) that surround Wayúu life. The more intricate the figures, the higher the value of the pieces.
Wayúu weavings typically have very bright and contrasting colors
The chinchorro and the hammock, “hanging beds where the Wayúu rest, sleep, chat, visit, do crochet work, and conceive and give birth to children”, re two basic fabrics in their culture. The difference between the chinchorro and the hammock is that chinchorros are loose-knit and therefore elastic, while hammock are made from compact fabrics and are thus much heavier.
Mochilas – a type of shoulder bag - are the utmost expression of Wayúu crocheting and are easily recognizable by their colors and designs. They are made by knitting cotton thread (a technique introduced by Catholic missionaries at the beginning of the twentieth century) with a crochet needle or a crochet hook.