I am constantly traveling into the Colombian Amazon to meet with indigenous communities such as the Wayuu communities based in La Guajira in Colombia. ATLAS is a travel journal that is shown as a fabric of tangible and intangible connections; between the macro and the micro, with humans, nature, and the mystical. It is materialized through experiences, spaces, and objects created from the gaze of a refined eye and deep awareness."
Atlas was founded by the Colombian designer Mariana Vieira. Mariana works exclusively with indigenous communities through a participatory design approach by exchanging knowledge on traditional and modern production techniques. In this way, she preserves century-old artisanship and translates it into pieces of art, furniture, and interior design objects for daily use.
The Colombian industrial designer carries the culture of her country in her veins and constantly reinterprets it in her work. She rescues, designs, and produces everyday objects with a representative local identity. Her adventurous spirit leads her to tour the country in a holistic way that has allowed her to create unique experiences and pieces.
TEAM: 4 full-time employees + 50 artisans.
LOCATION: Bogotá, Colombia.
MATERIALS: Gualdrapa tapestry fabrics.
TECHNIQUE: Gualdrapa tapestry technique.
IMPACT: Improve the access to education for the Wayuu communities in La Guajira, Colombia.
cosmology and natural
A night in La Guajira is a surreal dream, I think this is partly the reason why the Wayuu maintain a permanent dialogue with their origins. COSMIC GUAJIRA is a perception of the “cosmos” on my part, an exercise in geometric abstraction that they very well know how to do and represent in all their creations. They are pieces where mysticism, ancestral knowledge, and sacred geometry are mixed: as if, for them, weaving is trapping the information of the cosmos and manifesting it with apparent simplicity in a complex fabric.
is a collection of textiles for pillows, furniture, and art. She works with a total of 50 crafters of the Wayuu using the century-old gualdrapa tapestry technique, originally used to decorate horse saddles for races or special occasions. When this technique is applied, horizontal loom spans and each cotton thread is lifted by hand creating a thick high-quality fabric.
we work with
Wayu Iwouya Communities
Atlas works with Wayu Iwouya communities based in the northeastern Colombian peninsula La Guajira and led by Cecilia Acosta. There are over 140.000 Wayuu people in Colombia with over 290.000 in Venezuela. Women make a significant income contribution to their households through their weavings using different techniques, designs, and colors.
The Wayuu tradition of weaving comes from Waleker, a spider that taught the Wayuu women how to weave. After her first menstruation, the girl begins 'blanqueo', a rite of passage during which her mother and grandmother teach her everything about being a woman, including the art of weaving and crocheting. A Wayuu woman continues to refine her crochet skills throughout her life.
The Wayuu fabrics, with their hand-stitched, colorful kanás —weaving designs—, represent the elements of the society and daily life of these indigenous people, as well as elements of their cosmology and natural environments, such as the universe, flowers, and animals.