We are talking about the traditional handcrafted zuncho basket, one of the Colombian crafts woven with a type of plastic that is commonly used for packaging purposes.
Learn more about the handcrafted zuncho baskets made in Colombia and adopt it as an eco-friendly alternative that replaces plastic bags when you go shopping!
The history of handcrafted zuncho baskets
Unlike other Colombian crafts, this handcrafted basket is not woven with natural fibers. However, the technique is similar to the one used to create wicker and fique baskets. What make these baskets so unique?
First, their designs are native creations of Colombian artisans, they recycle the zuncho and mix different colors to create a handcrafted basket that resists heavyweight and hardly deteriorates despite the rain.
To begin with the history of this handcrafted basket, it is a result of a social movement and cultural transformation. Thanks to a craftsman who arrived in Bogota one day with his teachings around ancestral techniques and creative abilities, the handcrafted zuncho basket exists today. For example, in this industrial material, he found a similarity in the primary materials used in his region. Until transforming it into a product for urban use.
ThisColombian crafts has a place of origin: the marketplace, where it is sold and used as a shopping bag for fruits and vegetables. It is also common to see it in the streets, as it is used to carry a thermos with black coffee, also known in Colombia as ‘tinto’, and tea.
Handcrafted zuncho baskets, how are they made?
For the elaboration of these Colombian crafts, the artisans recycle different colored zuncho strips, which have become industrial process waste. The weaving handcrafted process consists of weaving the tape from a vertical structure (as the image shows). However, the handcrafted process could change depending on the product.
Wooden molds wrapped in the material are used for the design of bags and individual kitchen supplies which are interwoven, without using tape, because the way they intertwine the material supports the structure.
What kind of designs do these Colombian crafts have?
The technique used to weave the zuncho comes from different rural, indigenous, and Afro Colombian communities and consists of flat fabric with a warp and a weft that draw symbols representing the Colombian culture, mixing creativity and artisanal knowledge.
Also, the base figure of these handcrafted is the rhombus. From this figure, they create more such as hearts, diagonal lines, squares, and others. Symbology is usually not rooted in a culture, but rather in the creative capacity of the artisans. In that matter, the zuncho being a versatile material generates different types of designs and proposes modifications to the basic technique through superficial embroideries that create innovative effects.
Zuncho baskets, a Colombian handcrafted art to the world
The Colombian culture is preserved, embodied, and transmitted, which is the purpose of the creative laboratory aMano. The laboratory seeks to tell the stories behind Colombian crafts and connect the abilities and knowledge of the artisans regarding the market; this is done through handcrafted training and creative development processes.
In the same way, it is a place where artisanal traditions and Colombian culture are kept alive and the creativity and transformation of Colombian artisans are valued. According to Emilia Atuesta, designer and founder of aMano, under the teaching of artisans from the Huila department and the city of Bogota, people can learn to make handcrafted zuncho crafts baskets with an exceptional purpose: honor the handcrafted art.
Although we live in an industrialized world, there is a latent need to return to the origin, to buy objects with traceability, to have a conscience and remember the stories that allow us to generate more lasting and less superficial relationships with our objects,” said Emilia.
‘Zuncco Accessories’, Colombian crafts basket ‘living’ abroad
This Colombian crafts also became a contemporary craft design. From basket to wallets, the craft captivates attention in countries such as Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States and Japan. This is the international market participation of Zuncco Accessories, a Colombian crafts brand that turned this plastic material into something more exclusive for women.
‘Manteles y cacerolas’, a brand that represents the Colombian crafts around the world
This brand specializes in products for the dinner table and kitchen. Additionally, it pays tribute to the Colombian culture and supports the country’s artisans through the marketing of handbags handcrafted with zuncho, replacing the plastic bags.
Whether you want to use it as a market basket or a bag, these Colombian crafts are a sample of the country’s identity that has been forgotten for many years. Learn about more handcrafted objects and traditions that list #TheBestOfColombia.