¿Qué hacemos en Ixchel?

We have created this virtual place
to show you how knitted pieces
we are offering were done.
Wich were the techniques we used
on them and wich were the anthropological
motivations for each piece.

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL: http://www.lamagiadeixchel.blogspot.com/

Friday, October 22, 2010

Textiles and material culture

Turning to the opposite side of the world, British conquerors were astonished at the wealth, culture, and sophisticated civilization of Bengal, which they regarded as one of the richest prizes in the world. The conqueror was Robert Clive⎯whose statue greets visitors to the Victoria museum in Kolkata (Calcuta), a memorial to British imperial violence and degradation of its subjects. Clive was amazed at what he found. He described the great textile center of Dacca, now the capital of Bangladesh, as “extensive, populous and as rich as the city of London.” After a century of British rule its population had fallen from 150.000 to 30.000, and it was reverting to jungle and malaria. Adam Smith wrote that hundreds of thousands die in Bengal every year as a result of British regulations that even forced farmers to “plough up rich fields of rice or other grain for plantations of poppies” for opium production, turning “dearth into a famine.” In the words of the rulers themselves, “The misery hardly finds a place in the history of commerce. The bones of the cotton-weavers are bleaching the plains of India.” Bengal´s own fine cotton became extinct, and its advanced textile production was transplanted to England. Bangladesh may soon be wiped out by rising sea levels, unless the industrial societes act decisively to control and reverse the likely environmental catastrophe they had been creating, joined now by China and other developing societes.

Noam Chomsky, Hopes and Prospects, 2010 Chicago, pages 14-15.

The bag of Temazcalli

This bag is inspired by the ceremonies of Temazcalli.
Temaz means steam, and calli means house. It is the steamhouse of many ancient mexican cultures and they have used for rites of healing. They say that enter to a Temazcalli is like to go to the uterus, the womb of the Earth. In these ceremonies the fire, the water, the stones and the four cardinal points are the forces involved in healing.
The four doors of every ceremony (each for one cardinal point) are represented in the piece and also the sunset moment, when the Temazcalli is finished and all the negative energy goes out of the temple. This bag was made to keep the herbal remedies used during the ceremony.
Technique: crochet and macrame
Time: one month
Size: 19 cm diameter x 25 cm high



Macrame knots is a technique originated in the Middle East. It arrived in Spain with the Arab invasion in the eighth century and into Italy came through the Crusades, between the eleventh and thirteenth century.
In Colombia, the same way that the Wayuú bags, the technique has been used in a specific way, so most of woven macrame use only the two basic knots technique.
Here are two bracelets with intricate designs and different color schemes, which are showed just as an examples about some of the possibilities of figures that can be woven.
Technique: macrame
Size: 18 cm large x 7cm wide

A special Wayuú knitted piece

This is one of the colorful bags woven by women of the Wayuu ethnic group. Most weavers of La Guajira (Colombia) make their tissues based on shapes and colors of nature as the spider webs, spirals and turtle shells. The complexity of these designs and the technique used for weaving may involve one to several months of continuous work.
Wayuú grandmothers says that Warekerü was the spider who taught weaving to wayuú women and brought the kanasü, the ancestral designs. Through the times, tissues have been evolved and adapted. As well, have been discovering new techniques that allow greater expressiveness.
La Guajira is a land of contrasts, where sun, sea, desert and mountains blend into a colorful array of forms.
Technique: crochet and macramé
Size: 25 cm diameter x 35 cm high

Wayuú traditional bags

These are the most common bags in La Guajira. Women have adopted a unique technique for creating crochet bags. The bright colors and the strips for hanging made in vertical looms are the main features.
Their principal activities consist of to cook food (fish and rice in particular), care for children, clean their houses, and manufacture bags and hammocks on large vertical looms.
According to their tradition, the bags are associated with their own wombs. It is for this reason that when a woman has had a caesarean section, no one women in the community has permission to pick up knitting needles. To do it means a serious lack, equivalent to sting wound of the woman whom had made cesarean.
Technique: crochet and vertical loom
Size: 25 cm diameter x 35 cm high

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The night of Querubín

This weaving bracelet is inspired by the Taita Querubin Queta, grandfather, medical authority and the main chief of government of the Cofán community.
This community is located in the Amazon foothills, between Colombia and Ecuador, and shares that land with many other indigenous groups. The Cofan, along with Kamsá, Inga and Zionas, are known by yagé ceremonies practices. They live in the jungle and have been beaten severely by the conflict between the colombian government, the guerrillas and paramilitaries.
Taita Querubín Queta is a very powerfull magician man. He has been in charge of reminding the community who they are and where they come from. Unfortunately, the Cofan language has been lost and young people no longer speak the language of their grandparents. However, the Taita Querubin Queta has worked hard for the revival of the language and customs of its people.
He has also the knowlegment of medicinal plants of the Amazon Rainforest. He can distinguish hundreds of species and prepare remedies for health. They say that all this knowledgment has been given to him mostly through the yagé remedy.

Technique: macrame
Size: 15 cm x 11 cm