If you haven't had a chance to experience chaguar textiles, you’re in for a new wonder. Chaguar is a member of the bromeliad plant family (with looks resembling the aloe plant) yields strong and compact threads, which Wichí artisans skillfully turn into a compliant weave, with a soft move and an unusual, paper like touch.
Chaguar thrives at the heart of the Chaco forest, and Wichí women harvest it by hand deep in the wilderness. Venturing miles into ‘el monte’, in small groups, they spot and hand-pick their preferred variety (chutsaj in wichí language) and carry it back for processing. The women soak, mash, dry and spin the chaguar fibers, working them into a thread on their thighs, before soaking them once again, in dies. Wichí women favor subtle, muted hues, and use dyes they make themselves, using local tree barks, woods and fruits.
The last step is the weaving, done in traditional patterns, which the Wichí women use, almost innately, to complete their finished goods—bags, ponchos, clothes and nets that have served their users for centuries.
(Photo by Nicolás Heredia)