The Making of: Duitama

You know our blankets? The stylish monochrome wonders that somehow manage to be surprisingly strong and sturdy against the elements. Ever wonder how? Why? Who the creators are behind them? Ricardo from the Duitama artisans in the midst of the Colombian Andes shares all.  
 
"For me craft means transforming natural resources into creative objects... It takes ten steps to make a blanket, six of which are done in succession. Between all of us on the work team - we make roughly five blankets a day"
 
The Colombia Collective - [Duitama Woollen Blanket]
 
How old were you when you made your first piece and what was it?
Twenty five years ago, when I was just 30 years old!
 
 
How did you learn your craft?
I was sent by my mother to buy wool and cotton yarn to make backpacks, throws and cushions. I headed to a well-known store called ‘The Pink House’ popular with textile design students. It was there that I met Ruperto Espita Maestro who taught me how to make rugs on a vertical loom. I still have the first rug I made in my house.
 
 
How long does it take to create each piece?
It takes ten steps to make a blanket, six of which are done in succession. Between all of us on the work team - we make roughly five blankets a day.
 
What is the most challenging part of the process?
The preparation! I get up very early every day to clean the workshop because it is left with a lot of dust and specks of wool. Then I prepare the materials for what is going to be woven that day.  I make the shuttles that are going to be used by my employees to weave and give them instructions on what to do.
 
 
What inspires you to create the intricate designs?
The landscapes and crops of the fields with the furrows they form.  If you notice, the  lines of the blankets follow these formations.
 
How many people do you oversee in the workshop?
Four people at the moment.
 
 
What does your craft mean to you?
For me, craft means transforming natural resources into creative objects. This is through combining physical and mental energy with simple machinery and collective knowledge. I love to see how the raw material is made into something so unique - the final result is something worth waiting for.
 
The Colombia Collective - [Duitama Woollen Blanket]