Welcome to Salasaca Handicrafts. The products I sell are all products made by indigenous artisans from Ecuador. On this page you can see some of the characteristics of Salasaca, the community I am from, and on the other pages you will see the products I sell. They are divided into four categories:
Wool is the largest source of thread in my community. We use it for all of our clothing, including our shawls, ponchos, and anacus (skirts).
Cabuya (agave fibre) is also a traditional source of thread, more commonly used for bags, mats, and other products where its courser and heavier feel work well.
Other clothes I sell include shirts, sweaters, hats, and gloves.
Jewelry includes necklaces, bracelets, and earrings made with Ecuadorian seeds and stones.
Take a look at the product pages linked to above or enjoy the photos below that show Salasaca and some of the traditional methods used in our production.
Salasaca is located just a few miles from Tungurahua, an active volcano that periodically blankets our community in ash. This photograph was taken from my house, and you can see my father's house in the background. Tungurahua is also called "Mama Abuela" and for us is like a grandmother spirit.
Traditional celebrations are a highlight of town life. This photo shows the Indi Raymi (solstice festival). The designs used in the dances and costumes are the inspiration for much of the weaving we do for sale.
Our agriculture is organic and for subsistence. In this photo you can see some of my grandparents' animals, including sheep, who are the source of the wool that is used in our clothing.
After shearing the wool, women spin it into thread. In the photo above you can see me and some of my cousins walking across a hillside spinning. We create a very fine thread that when woven tight into a poncho is waterproof. For one poncho it could take six months or a year to spin enough thread. However, as can be seen, it is a task one can do while doing other things, like tending to animals, walking, going to community meetings, etc.
This is a close-up of me spining. Our method of spinning is distinct from the way most people in the United States spin. A couple of years ago I went to the Mendocino County Fair, which has spinning demonstrations, and they were very surprised because they were used to other styles.
Cochineal is a small bug that lives on cactus that we use to dye our clothing. Depending on how it is prepared it can have a color ranging from a deep red to near black.
Here you can see the color on my finger. See the Wool page for examples of the weaving I sell.