Boruca – Old times – New times in Boruca

Boruca - Susan Cooka and Cindy - Costa Rica - Photo by Susan Atkinson

Boruca – Susan Cooka and Cindy – Costa Rica – Photo by Susan Atkinson

Susan, owner of the Pacific Edge Ecolodge in Dominicalito, has been working with the Boruca community for nearly 17 years, mainly with Marina Lazaro, selling her masks and all the beautifully hand-woven goods, they make.  About three years ago, Susan decided to reinvest the profits she made in the Roca Verde Christmas market.  She purchased an industrial sewing machine for the Boruca community; they contributed to the payment with their colorful historical masks and other beautiful crafts.

Last year, when Susan went to the Lake Atitlán in Guatemala, she came across a training center for the locals in the small village of Santa Cruz.  There were a dozen sewing machines and two very large floor looms. This made her think about Marina and her helpers weaving on a back strap loom, which ties around their waist with the other end attached to a fixed post.  The widest they could weave was 18 inches, and a length of a meter and a half.

Boruca - Entering the village - Costa Rica - Photo by Dagmar Reinhard

Boruca village – Costa Rica – Photo by Dagmar Reinhard

It is how Susan´s project was born; with Marina´s enthusiasm, Susan finally came across the diagrams to build a counter balance four-shaft loom, and she built it in a few months, by herself!

Then Marina came to the Pacific Edge to learn to weave on the brand-new loom.  Her three daughters Adriana, Idania, and Cindy followed her to master this new skill.  Now they can weave 36-inch wide fabric and up to a length of 33 yards.  When they felt comfortable operating the loom, and the new different designs, they are able to create, Susan transported the loom to Marina´s house, in the Boruca community.

Read in the next issue: Susan is taking Marine and her daughters to meet their equivalents in Guatemala.

Posted in Art & Culture, Indigenous People and tagged .