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From the native peoples to the gauchos, the poncho is a garment that crosses our entire history . Used for the coat and for the fight, it is — to this day — the main artisan product of our country. The poncho is made by hand using techniques that are passed down from generation to generation and using natural raw materials, typical of each region .
The process of making the garment takes time. It all starts with shearing , harvesting the fiber that can be from different animals: llama , alpaca, sheep, guanaco or vicuña, depending on the region. Then, the material passes into the expert hands of the artisans (traditionally, women who make the ponchos), who take between one and four months to have the garment finished.
Once you have the wool, it's time to get down to work. First, the fibers are cleaned and allowed to dry in the sun. Subsequently, they are stretched to form a fleece. Then the craft work of spinning begins: by hand, with the help of a spindle or spinning wheel (a wooden element similar to a spinning top).
The poncho is a garment that has a lot to do with where it comes from, because everything that is used to perform it comes from the land itself. Therefore, the different colors that characterize the ponchos of each region, often, have to do with the natural tinctures found in each place. The reds of the ceibos, the blues of the blackberries, the greens of the molle, the yellows of the mikuma and the golden of the rhubarb. These, among many other elements, paint the threads of our ponchos.
The weaving techniques used, in addition to the designs, represent each community, every village, every province and every region. These are taught from generation to generation and, in some cases, the whole family gets involved in this task, which is more of a ritual than an occupation.
The poncho is much more than just a garment . It's tradition, it's community, it's heritage, it's nature, it's belonging. Between its threads are mixed ancestral longings, secrets, joys and sorrows. It is the earth, but they are also the gods that represent each of the cultures that inhabit and inhabit our soil, from end to end of the country. Past and present intersect and link together in this garment, which is our history and our stories at the same time.
Publication Date: 19/07/2020
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