Indigenous Woman of the Arhuaco Culture, Sierra Nevada, Colombia; Amia Nikuyum is a co-op of women Mochila (handbag) weavers.
Apropos for Indigenous Peoples Day as the originators of handbags that fulfill functionality, meaning and style.
Today, The Maker World honors the original Makers of carrying functions such as handbags, baskets, and ceramics. The indigenous people from around the world resourcefully curated mother nature’s gifts to fulfill their carrying needs. They were function driven, but also wove meaning, beauty and style into their goods.
Above you see the Mochila, a beautifully hand-woven handbag of the Arhuaco women of the Sierra Nevada in Colombia. These bags serve to carry tools, food, personal belongings and essentials during travel. The interwoven designs symbolize profound thoughts, the environment (snowy peaks, hills, lakes), fertility, the Creator, the four corners of the world, and more. They represent a legacy, a culture, a community, a connection. These powerful handbags are a traditional gift from the bride to the groom; two, meaningfully handwoven for him and for her, to demonstrate their union and love. There’s no need for diamond rings when greater meaning is placed in the hard work, thought and time spent in weaving for the imperative: “the couple”. A legacy to honor indeed.
Flash-forward to today
To date, the Arhuaco handbags remain a classic symbol of Colombian culture and are now in use throughout the country by both men and women. It is a symbol of the pride, respect, and love many Colombians carry for their indigenous peoples.
Today, we have certainly expanded the handbag craft. Humans the world over are obsessed with carrying bags. Styles, materials, meaning have all been compressed to create a handbag paradise on earth. Women and men, today, have access to every global style of handbag or suitcase to meet their needs. But we’re losing something important…
THE CONNECTION TO THE MAKER
That is, the respect and value that comes from knowing the hands, the love, the tradition and the living beings that passionately made our product. Most bags in the easy-access markets are made for fast consumption, poorly crafted, with shoddy materials, by poorly paid, rushed, overworked, and ill-treated workers that slave away to sadly make our purchase as fast and meaningless as the next. The Arhuaco peoples, in fact, have also been impacted by mass producers and struggle to keep their handwoven handbags a viable means of trade. But there is hope from conscious buyers and entrepreneurs.
Flashing back to the past, with honor, respect, and value, The Maker World aims to conserve and revive the sustainability of Maker traditions of mastery, artisanship, and craftsmanship from around the world. We are committed to adequately paying Skilled Makers for their hard work and contributing back to maker and artisan communities for their ecosystem’s maintenance and preservation.
We seek to restore your connection to the Maker and the value that comes from knowing the hands that have dedicated adequate time to the fruit of their labor and have decently earned their day’s work, allowing them to truly live well, off their craft. Communities of Makers are disappearing because we have taken to mass consumption of cheaply made goods. Let’s celebrate the Maker, Indigenous Peoples and National Handbag Day together by consciously buying from and supporting conscious retailers. The beta launch for themakerworld.com will begin October 23, 2016. Join us!
A Longstanding Colombian Leather-Making Tradition with a
Modern Twist: Full-Grain Leather “Mochila”, handmade
and hand stitched by one of our Honored Makers,