“I am a craftswoman from the town of Cucunubá, and I represent but a small part of the traditionally entrepreneurial women who live in this community of craftspeople.” These are the words of Gloria Pérez, a strong and confident woman who learned the trade of weaving from her mother. There, grandmothers, mothers, aunts, cousins, and herself—now in her early forties and still in possession of the knowledge she acquired a long time ago— are all together.
The townsfolk from Pueblo Viejo, a village that is about 15 minutes away from the beautiful town of Cucunubá, have been working with sheep for half a century. They have been trying to preserve their trade, which has been steadily declining due to mining in the region. They are resilient, however, in the face of adversity. They spin, weave, embroider, and attend festivals with a variety of products, which include coats, capes, scarves, hats, cushions, boots, ruanas, gloves, blankets, ornamental objects, and tableware.
She fills with pride when she talks about the embroidery she makes with yarn and precious stones. She knows her technique stands out from all other craftspeople’s. She enjoys showing her work to anyone who wishes to see her weaving, embroidering, or preparing her raw materials. She is on a personal crusade to improve the quality of her craft and of weaving at large. This is so because she feels that, although there still is an incredible number of high-quality woolen wares made in Boyacá today, “their quality has started to gradually decay.” As a result, the craftswomen’s husbands and children are starting to expand this skilled workforce by becoming part of it.
She is a great ambassador of her town. She tries to get people to visit the town, walk on its colonial streets, and discover its mountains, water springs, and pictograms. She also recommends the 7-grain chicha —one of the region’s traditional beverages—to the visitors and, to put the cherry on top of this artisanal experience, she offers them a tasty dish of free-range hen.
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