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Hands Behind The Craft

Embera Chamí

In Colombia, Along the Coastal Pacific Basin of Choco and surrounding lands that encompass Risaralda located in the western central region of the country and part of the Paisa region lives the fascinating Indigenous community Embera Chamí (Embera = People, Chamí = Mountains), they are one of the largest native groups in existence within the country who still speak their traditional dialect and practice their ancestral expressions of spirituality actively.
Despite the conflictive situation they must face as product of political affairs in the country the Embera Chamí people have proven to be an extremely resilient community who continuously adapt to their surroundings to ensure the survival and preservation of its people.
A large portion that contributes to their main survival is based in creation of intrinsicate jewelry, a traditional beading technique & skill passed to them generation to generation. The Embera people showcase their art in physical form with miniature glass beads. They elaborate gorgeous pieces using geometrical patterns that display dream visions and reflect their ancestral beliefs of connection to their mother “Earth”, the symbolism and meaning each individual piece portrays also conveys a message regarding the emotional state of the Native artisan such as bliss, joy, healing, using the different colors as if “painting” with each weave of the thread and beads.
This traditional jewelry not only adorns the body but also is belied to enhance the spiritual protection of the wearer, such as necklaces named “Okamas” traditionally weaved for women typically with circular geometrical shapes and “Otapas” for the man incorporating an array of straight lines are worn during their ceremonial practices and serve the individual as an amulet to navigate their spiritual realms granting them the ability to amplify communication with the spirits of the universe and their cosmic deities.
Each individual piece is unique, varying in shape, patters and colors, carrying the energetic imprint of the ancestors who have come before us and is Hand by Craft’s effort to create an open channel to maintain alive the craft and act as a portal that can link the Ancestral Tradition of the Embera Chamí showcasing with pride the crafts of our forbearers.
In the Amazon Jungle grows a sacred vine known popularly as “Yagé” or “Soul Vine” it is blended with different plant varieties to create a medicinal brew by the experienced Shamans of the region. It is used and consumed during the healing ceremonies of the Natives & Guardians of the Ancestral knowledge. The consumption of Yagé is believed to allow one to access the “knowing of the world” and “seeing into the future”.

Inga Kamëntsá

The Putumayo region of Colombia located south west of the country, bordering Ecuador and Peru is the homeland to Indigenous groups such as Siona, Inga & Kamënsá, They are skilled in the elaboration of Ceremonial objects that serve as vehicles to establish clearer communication with the spiritual planes of consciousness. Traditionally carved from wood and adorned with colorful “walkas” or beads to represent the “Pintas” or visions that are channeled to the natives during their healing rituals.
The figures incarnate traditional characters such as Shamans, forces of Light & Darkness, carriers of Good and Evil, Cosmology amongst others who’s powers are blended with Jaguar Imagery, Macaw birds, and Feather imprints. All the colors allude to the “Pintas” of Yagé and the objects evoke the forces of Nature. During ceremony the Grandfather conjures the pectorals so that the “Taitas” can speak to the spirits each one invokes.
 Each individual piece is unique, its shape, form, patters and colors carry an energetic imprint of the ancestors who have come before us and is Hand by Craft’s effort to maintain alive the craft and be the bridge that can link the Ancestral Tradition showcasing and carrying with pride the crafts of our forbearers.