Made in Mogotes

29 Jun

That bag you sling over your shoulder every day… do you know who made it? Where it came from? What the materials are and how the materials were made? I didn’t, until I came to Colombia and started to meet some of the artisans who sit in living rooms in the tiny village of Mogotes rocking babies in strollers with one foot while fiddling with knitting needles and fique.

One afternoon, we were on the farm when I heard a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz of what sounded like a chainsaw coming from the farm next door where fique plants were growing in abundance. It meant they were being cut. We walked over, ducking under the stiff, pointed leaves, and were welcomed to watch the entire process of how the plants become mush. Another day, we were down by the river, and I watched the mush being cleaned and hung in the sun to dry. And then, at a neighbor’s house, how the cleaned mush material is separated into spools of thick, rough thread. It’s dyed. I went with Eliana, one of Mogotes’ artisans, to buy stacks of fique. She taught me how to make a small wristlet. Shops take the bags from the artisans and transport them all over Colombia.

Made in Mogotes was created to ship fique bags and other products using guadua and other materials from Mogotes all over the world. It’s meant to introduce you to some artisans and crafts that are lovingly handmade in a country that is brimming with creativity. Stay tuned for products, interviews and other goodies here. And in the meantime, check out the Etsy shop. It’s new, but will be growing quickly.

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