THE TECHNIQUE : FRAZADA
These heavy textiles, called frazadas, have been handmade by Aymara women in the Andean region of Bolivia since pre-Hispanic times. The frazada’s vibrant colors and bold patterns provide a stark contrast with the harsh elements of the upper Andes that surround the Aymara people. Their thick weave has made them an essential protection from the high-altitude cold for generations. Bolivian families use frazadas as blankets, throws, rugs, tablecloths or picnic blankets.
Though important in the daily life of the Aymara, the significance of the frazada goes beyond the practical. The patterns woven into the thick alpaca wool signify the local identity, lineage, and imagination of the talented artisan who made it. Artisans color the wool with natural dyes, then weave the fabric on a handloom. Frazadas are woven in two separate parts, then sewn together with a central seam. Each artisan practices different weaving techniques, making every frazada unique.
Frazadas are becoming more and more scarce, as the price of alpaca wool increases and artisans turn towards other means of income. We hope that our partnership with Fair Trade Bolivia will allow these talented artisans to earn a fair income while preserving the traditional frazada technique. Each frazada carries with it the rich legacy of an ancient Andean tradition, and the mark of the Bolivian artisan who carefully created it.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTISANS
Bolivia Fair Trade supports artisan groups, cooperatives, small businesses and entrepreneurial initiatives in Bolivia and helps them bring their products to market. They are committed to fair trade and improving the living conditions for the people in Bolivia. They help each artisan by providing technical assistance and quality control during production and ensuring healthy and safe working conditions.