WAYUU BAGS FAQ
What are Wayuu bags?
The Traditional Wayuu Bag (Susu), is a medium sized bag used by the Wayuu women con a daily basis to carry personal use items
Wayúu saying goes, “To be a woman is to know how to weave.” The tradition of weaving is highly respected within their matriarchal culture. Wayuu bags are a cultural heritage for the Wayuu people. These bags represent the highest example of their weaving traditions.
They are easily recognizable because of the colors and designs. Bags are woven in crochet, or with a weaving hook. Manufacturing process can take up to 30 days.
What are Wayuu bags made of?
They are made of acrylic fibers.
Before Wayuu bags were such a hot and popular item, artisans spooled their own thread from natural fibers, and used natural dyes which produced more earthy tones like browns and reds. But today, they have commercialized Wayuu bags and to save time and create these colorful bags, artisans have stopped making their thread and buy from the colors available.
What are the designs/symbols in the Wayuu bags?
Today, Wayuu bags have become very popular and the designs include flowers, animals, and other nature items. But traditional Wayuu bags are crocheted with kanaas, which are symbolical drawings native to the Wayuu culture.
Kanaas represent animals, symbols and objects that are part of the day-to day life of the Wayuu people
How do Wayuu Women learn to weave?
For the Wayuu matriarchal tribe, the tradition of crochet and weaving symbolizes womanhood, and representation of their status and intelligence.
The Tradition is passed from generation to generation. They start learning during childhood but once they get their first menstruation, they start a confinement that can last anything from months to years. During this sacred period called “encierro” women are taught to crochet
While in confinement, they also learn to care for the home, for her family and crochet. The longer the confinement, the finer weaving skills become, and this can give them a highly valued woman in their community.
Who are the Wayuu People?
Located deep in the Northern lands of La Guajira desert, close to the Colombian and Venezuelan border, The Wayuu Tribe is a traditional, historical, indigenous community who are known as the people of the sun, sand and wind.
Wayuu men dedicate their time to take care of the sheep and goat, the crops and the making of traditional musical instruments. Women on the other hand, occupy themselves to make hammocks (chinchorros) ,handwoven colorful clothing and the very popular shoulder bags
The Wayuu are the largest indigenous group of Colombia. they are an self-governing and matriarchal tribe.
The Wayuu tribe are comprised of +30 clans who live in small, isolated communities called rancherías, The Wayuu have been able to maintain their culture and language despite many efforts to colonize.
What’s the legend behind the tradition of Wayuu weaving?
The Wayuu tell us about the story of a Spider called Wale Keru.
Wale Keru was found as a Child by a man called Irunúu, but one day, suddenly Wale Keru transformed into a maiden. She fell in love Irunúu and started weaving beautiful creations for him. She used to weave overnight and nobody saw her actually weaving but her stunning designs were done before dawn.
Wale Keru told her beloved one that she could stay in this form and long as he would keep her talent secret. But, one night evil spirits got Irunúu drunk and he broke his promise to keep the secret.
When Irunúu tried to explain to Wale Keru what happened, she disappeared, and in her place, Irunúu found a spider who escaped into the mountains to never be found again.
Irunúu, saved all the beautiful weaves Wale Keru made for him and sent them the asked a Wayuu woman to imitate the techniques and pass them on to all other Wayuu women.
What makes Sierra & Savanna Wayuu bags different?
Sierra & Savanna Wayuu bags are 100% authentic made in Colombia. Our sources work closely with Master Artisans who oversee that our Wayuu bags are always of the best quality.
Wayuu bags are in high demand, Be aware of imitations out there.
Sierra & Savanna is a firm believer of fair trade and ensuring that artisans are treated with dignity and respect and are paid fairly for their work. With every purchase we are strengthening families and uniting indigenous communities, making a difference, and creating a positive, long-lasting impact.
Indigenous women are in the top percentile of the population most likely to live in extreme poverty. To ensure access to decent living standards, our sources pays the artisans approx. 25% above the average market price for Wayuu bags.
Where are Wayuu bags made?
All authentic Wayuu bags are made by the women form the Wayuu Tribe from the Guajira Peninsula of Northern Colombia and Venezula.
Whats the difference between single thread and double thread bags?
On single thread bags, the artisans used their crochet techniques using one thread.
The double thread technique involves for the artisan to loop the second thread around their toes to weave a much thicker stitch. The double thread uses more material but takes half the time to weave.
Single thread (1T) bags are considered the ultimate premium Wayuu bags
Half the weight and thickness. The single thread allows more Intricate, detailed patterns, the crafting process takes considerably longer
Double thread (2T) bags are standard and most popular Wayuu Bags
More weight and double the thickness compared to 1T. The double thread represents more simple designs but still detailed patterns, the crafting process takes less time than 1T
The Wayuu ancestral techniques, used hand-knotting and looms; but during colonization they learned about traditional crochet. Then artisans of the Wayuu tribe then adapted from their hand-knotting technique to a modified version of crochet technique that allows them to incorporate the Wayuu designs