Meet

Matamba

Matamba is a creative studio that designs innovative pieces in direct collaboration with artisan communities across Colombia. Working closely with these communities, Matamba engages in co-creating modern ideas that elevate ancestral techniques, preserving cultural heritage and identity. Matamba's designs are timeless, combining tradition and innovation.

FOUNDER: Jennibeth Iguarán & Juanita Gil

TEAM: 5 full-time employees + 95 artisans.

LOCATION: Colombia.

MATERIALS: Fique, Iraca palm.
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    About the founder

    JENNIBETH IGUARÁN & JUANITA GIL

    Jennibeth Iguarán, industrial designer, and Juanita Gil, fashion and textile designer, met while working with artisan communities. They toured various territories exploring Colombian traditions, crafts, techniques, and raw materials. After this experience, MATAMBA was born to continue highlighting and preserving the country’s craftsmanship.

    Bicolor Fique Tote — Navy / Orange by Matamba at White Label Project
    Fique Tote — Guava by Matamba at White Label Project

    Story & Highlights

    At Matamba, fique takes center stage as one of their primary materials. This natural tropical plant boasts robust and hard fibers. The lengthy, lush green leaves, reaching impressive heights of 2 to 7 meters, contribute to the meticulous and labor-intensive process of preparing fique fibers. Skilled hands and a deep appreciation for this remarkable material result in unique, high-quality creations.

    One of Matamba's other main materials is the iraca palm, also known as toquilla or palmiche. This Latin American plant thrives in temperate climates, cool shaded areas, and along rivers and streams. Achieving the highest quality of this natural fiber requires meticulous care during the plant's approximately 3-year growth period before it's ready for processing. Matamba's commitment to quality and craftsmanship shines through in every creation, where tradition and innovation coexist seamlessly.

    Matamba works with master artisan Juanita Castillo. She leads a group of 200 women who call themselves “Las Juanitas”. They all have learned to weave the Iraca palm as a tradition of their homeland, Sandoná, Nariño. Located in the south of the country, known for their traditional straw hats and commonly called the sweetest town of Colombia. All the artisans that master this craft have inherited this knowledge from past generations. Weaving is their main income resource, and over time they have innovated the technique to make all kinds of pieces, from hats to baskets and other home decor accessories. As Juanita says: “Weaving with love leaves a bit of our hearts in every piece we create”.