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In the garden of her house in Concepción del Yaguareté Corá , in the Iberá region of the province of Corrientes and 150 kilometers from the capital, Nelly weaves memory . It is one of the few craftsmen who are still engaged in “sewing” ispartillo and palm to make all kinds of handicrafts. From plates, trays, bread boxes, to bags, seamstresses and everything your imagination dictates to you. The needle you sew with is homemade and made with the rods of the umbrellas that are getting old. The knowledge with which he does his job, is ancestral and historical.
In his project, Nelly Cardozo's husband harvests the espartillo about 20 kilometers from where he lives. At each harvest, it performs thorough work, since the plant is edged and can cut. This plant artisan learned the technique of grandmother from her life partner, 43 years ago. From that time until today she is in love with the technique, which became her main source of work and inspiration.
Nelly's handicrafts, in addition to beautiful, are characterized by unmatched neatness. She is responsible for designing objects that are useful for everyday use and that are not just decorative objects. Although the beauty of each work deserves to be used as such. “ If one is dedicated exclusively, you can live on this,” says Nelly.
“ But of course, you have to be willing to work all day . The technique is not difficult, it is practical, but there has to be interest in learning the sewing and how to harvest and store both the palm and the espartillo , which once collected must be allowed to dry in the sun several days. I love to sew and I can do it while converting or watching a movie. I have memory on my fingers.”
Nelly says that, for 3 years, its sales have been growing noticeably thanks to tourism. In addition, he does a teamwork with the people of the hotels who make their handicrafts known to the visitors who arrive. “ My clients are mostly tourists, but I also have a lot of interaction through my Instagram, where I contact a lot of people and they place orders from all sides,” he says.
The most requested is the plate pose 30 centimeters in diameter, although the bread breads are also protagonists . Despite the great call of the other objects, Nelly's favorite are multi-function hens that serve to store eggs, as an ornament, as a seamstress or to store food well covered and protected by flies.
But his work is not only artisanal, it is also a contribution to the general culture of Correntina . Since the technique with which he works is millennial and hides secrets from the native communities. In this sense, the Artesanos del Iberá program , carried out by the Institute of Culture of Corrientes, plays an important role as it disseminates its work .
Fairy Irastorza, coordinator of the Programme, and who has a great commitment to the cultural heritage of Correntino says that “Artesanos del Iberá aims at the recovery of techniques endangered or that are already extinct and that we must have to recover with very concrete actions ”. In addition, the specialist in Correntina culture, highlights the economic value of these practices:
“ Last year it was very successful in sales despite the pandemic and the non-circulation of tourism. Today, many artisans continue to support their customers because decoration and gift houses were made orders and this facilitated the economic movement that also favors the conservation of heritage because what has no way out is not sustained in time and the new generations do not want to do it if they see that it is not profitable.”
Between the Programme and the hundreds of artisans from the Correntine lands, they are responsible for not letting ancestral traditions die. Applause!
Publication Date: 16/04/2021
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