Jicara, arte natural, is a family workshop operated by Victoria Gibbs and Romel Campos in the fishing village of Ayangue on the coast of Ecuador. Victoria and Romel are dedicated to environmental sustainability in all of their work. They draw inspiraton from natural materials such as mate, a gourd species harvested in the coastal region. Their artwork is rooted in preserving traditions found throughout Ecuador fused with modern techniques and designs.
Elena Lema and husband, Eduardo Cordova, are creative artisans who offer INTO dress scarves, an array of ponchos, wraps and other items. Eduardo produces his items on a machine that uses only manpower. Elena oversees all orders on two electric looms she has purchased with microloans from INTO. Elena and Eduardo live in Peguche, Ecuador where much of their time is spent weaving for the local market. INTO offers them access to more profitable markets and entrepreneurial skills.
Ernesto Cordova continues the work of his father, Jose Cordova, who was one of INTO’s partner artisans for 12 years. Ernesto is supported by his wife, Lucita Lema, as they produce INTO’s line of beautiful and cozy double stitch scarves and wraps. Ernesto uses a technique that few artisans still employ in Peguche, Ecuador. INTO is happy to continue marketing their products across the United States.
Jose Luis Farinango and his wife, Mercedes, live in Quinchuqui, a small community outside of Otavalo, Ecuador. Luis Jose has been weaving since he was seven years old. He is dedicated to preserving the weaving tradition of his ancestors, choosing to work solely on manpowered wooden looms. With his wife, Mercedes, they weave beautiful table linens as well as other personal accessories. INTO partners with this family workshop, “Artetelar Farinango” to preserve their culture’s weaving tradition.
José and Elvia are textile artisans who live in Otavalo, Ecuador. Their weaving business produces wonderful light weight cloth and beautifully tailored jackets. INTO is excited to begin a partnership with their family workshop which employs three people in addition to themselves, creating jobs in their community.
Adriana Escobar is a master Taracea artist. This ancient artform dates back over 500 years to Moorish Spain. She is one of few artisans, and the only female, in Ecuador still creating masterpieces with recycled wood that embody and honor the artistry of the period in Quito’s history called “Escuela Quiteña”. She makes incredible combinations of wood tones and each piece that INTO sells from her “el Tocte” workshop is completely unique.
The artisans of Guangopolo preserve their community’s cultural heritage as each horsehair is sorted. They meticulously classify each strand into the 16 different shades that exist. Their craftmanship dates back to pre-Incan times when their community used plant fibers to weave sieves for cooking. With the arrival of the Spanish, artisans in Guangopolo began utilizing the discarded hair of horses found on large haciendas throughout Ecuador. After the development of plastics, community members were forced to adapt to a different market- plastic sieves had replaced their handmade masterpieces--the result would be an incredible line of unique personal accessories. Artisans, Abraham Paucar and Rosa Carbrera, passionately preserve their communities’ heritage, adapting models and new techniques to keep the tradition alive.
INTO partners with a group of determined women in small communities outside Saraguro, a town in southern Ecuador. Many of these women have overcome the loss of their husbands, domestic violence and other difficult obstacles. They are proud to offer their traditional jewelry to the U.S. market through INTO, providing much needed income to their female led households. They have named their line of jewelry made with traditional techniques Arte Sano Allichina in their community’s Kichwa language. It means “Holistic art to adorn you.”
Husband and wife, Fernando Macas and Monica Cartuche live in Cera, a small town in the province of Loja situated in the Andes of southern Ecuador. Cera is a town historically known for black and terracotta earthenware. As a young couple Fernando and Monica add modern design and creative flair to traditional models. All their pieces are hand molded or made on a foot powered wheel. They are fired in a handmade kiln. The black nature of this stoneware is a result of sitting it in a eucalyptus leaf enclosure. There are no glazes used.