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Background // Why this book?

Never did I dream of writing this book. I was just fascinated with the colours, the patterns and the complexity of the techniques used in the weavings of the Wayuu people. After struggling for a while with the specimens I had it became apparent that it was going to be impossible for me to discover and analyse the intricacies of this weave on my own. So I went to the Guajira Peninsula and spent time with the artisan families. Then the weavings really got to my imagination and touched me to the core. My appreciation of these textiles grew as I studied them.

During the trips I collected bags full of weavings and other handwork. To get an overview of the collection I started to make a catalogue with detailed analysis of the patterns, techniques, colours and materials.

I was under the impression that it would result in a nicely finished project. But all the folders with analysis together did not show what fascinated me so much.
I considered that the Wayuu had collected all this knowledge over many generations and that now they were loosing it, slowly but surely. The manner of dress changes and the modern times have a negative influence on the rhythm of life in which traditionally handwork had a large place. I wanted to make a contribution towards the safeguarding of this specific weaving tradition. That was when the plan for this book was born. It was going to be a gift to the Wayuu as a token of my appreciation for their work and a thank you for sharing their knowledge with me.

Making a book is expensive and the information is so valuable that others should also be able to share in it. Anthropologists, artists and handweavers should be able to find information and inspiration in it. The choice for publishing in three languages in three columns next to one another has to do with the large amount of photographs and illustrations and with the expected small and specialised audience. Slowly the book started taking shape; technical background in a context that paints a picture of daily life, traditions and customs of the Wayuu. A catalogue of encountered shapes is of importance to the Wayuu. Step by step instructions will help the hand weaver. Maybe in the future even a Wayuu could use the information.