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WOVEN BASKETS: A LATINAMERICAN ANCESTRAL CRAFTSMANSHIP

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Native artisans baskets are a living legacy of the culture and traditions of Latin America.

Typically, woven by women and transformed this once household items into some of the finest contemporary baskets made from natural materials and natural dyes.

Embera Baskets - Nativa Leather

 

THE BASKETS

The Baskets weaving begins with the harvesting of the raw materials. This process requires lots of time and hikes into the rainforest. A delightful secret about the baskets is that they come from the most dangerous tree for the unwary hiker in the forest, the Chung or black palm tree, which has very sharp spines that can reach over 6 inches in length.  

The materials are processed, requiring the skill and knowledge that only the Native artisans have perfected over the years. The fibers are dried and bleached in the sun and split to the thickness needed, while the dyes are treated and “cooked” according to the shades and colors wanted for a particular design.

Embera Baskets - Nativa Leather

The Weaving : Patterns of the Latin American Soul

Each Basket is a one of a kind piece and is the result of many hours of labor as well as the particular expression of the artist, her talent and artistic vision are inspirited from her own personal and cultural experiences.  

The baskets are in fact an expression of their culture, portraying symbols, religious elements and depictions of their natural environment, what they know: the rainforest.  The patterns come from their imagination, their memory, their soul and the world that surrounds them: rivers, mountains, a lush forest and the life within.

Latin American Native artisans have very skilled, techniques for basket-making, they are best known for their artistic baskets.  The fibers of the nahuala plant are used as the foundation and the chunga fibers, being a bit finer, are used as the sewing material and together starting from the bottom begin to form a spiral shape.  

The bottom of the basket is the most complex portion of the design, and usually the artist imprints her “signature” in the bottom (an animal, or some other pattern); some baskets are actually so beautiful in the base that are best displayed upside down!

As the spiral begins to unravel, the artist must be very careful, and patient, while the shape and design come to life.  The hardest is to achieve a symmetrical shape, a challenge for the most skilled craftsman done by these amazing women artists.

Using different techniques and types of coil, dyed fibers to create their simple yet impressive patterns and the finishing touches that make each basket unique and special.

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