Indigenous women’s hand-spinning wool in the Ecuadorian Highlands

By Lorena Toro, Dayana Mayorga, and Cenia Córdova | 12 August 2022

Handspun wool has imperfections and irregularities, it has a particular smell and texture that does not resemble other similar industrialized products. Even though spinning and weaving are usually thought of together, they correspond to different processes of creation; spinning produces the thread, that is, the raw material which makes weaving possible. The project’s main goal is to document the hand-spinning process performed by indigenous women in the Ecuadorian Highlands. This work aims to identifying the stages of wool obtention from the sheep, preparation, washing, carding (use of wire brushes to separate the threads), spinning, and dyeing. Besides it will identify the instruments and materials and the physical and social environments involved to produce handspun wool.

The phenomenological approach of qualitative research was selected to document the experience of the hand-spinning process, implementing observation, interviews, digital recordings and photography. This project is a contribution to the democratization of knowledge, not only because the resulting data will be of open-access but also because the information will be shared with the protagonists and their communities.

 

PI:
Lorena Isabel Toro Mayorga

Collaborators:
Dayana Mayorga

Research Assistant:
Cenia Córdova

Location of Research:
Imbabura and Tungurahua provinces, Ecuador

Host Institution:
Universidad Técnica del Norte, Ecuador

 

Top Banner Image: Sigse (native plant) with hand-spun wool (Photo: Cenia Córdova)