We feel really great about our woven goods and are delighted to share our production process with you. From start to finish our bags are created in the beautiful mountains of Ecuador utilizing traditional methods and sustainable practices.
It all starts with a varietal of agave that grows wild in Ecuador. The harvesting of this plant is very difficult due to the mountainous terrain in which it naturally grows. The plants are only accessible by small footpaths which the local villagers walk along to find the mature agave ready for harvest. Then, carefully extracting only the necessary leaves to promote future growth, the locals hike out carrying the harvested leaves in huge wrapped bundles.
The leaves of the plant are stripped to expose the interior fibers. The fibers are then washed and dried multiple times to rid them of any sticky residue. On any given day the agave fibers can be found piled in neat rows in the village center. The villagers use the abundant sunshine to dry the agave until it is ready to dye.
First, the local villagers forage the nearby mountainsides to find local wild plants to dye the agave. The bundles of agave, now dried from the sun, are boiled in large pots over an open fire with the various gathered plants. The plants are used to create a variety of colors and hues. Using this natural dying process means color consistency is much more difficult to attain than with chemical dyes. However, we would not have it any other way because each product is truly unique! The bundles then go back to the village center for a second drying in the sun to set the dye.
After the fibers are completely dried they are brushed, bundled, and spun into yarn. The villagers use a traditional foot pedal operated wheel to spin the threads into 2 pound spools of yarn. Each 2 pound spool takes 5 hours to spin.
Finally, the artisans are able to weave the bags. The weaving is all done by hand using just one needle to make the individual patterns. This final step takes between 2-5 days depending on the size and design of the bag.