ECUADOR is a beautiful country where I recently travelled with 5 friends and discovered some wonderful artists and craftspeople making unique and wonderful things from the natural resources there.
My favorite was Carmen Orellanos a master weaver of vibrant ikats. We visited her workshop outside of Cuenca.
Also very impressive was Eduardo Vega, world renowned master ceramic artist who has done some amazing murals in public places. We visited his beautiful gallery and workshop perched on a hill above Cuenca.
In Cuenca we also found the panama hat workshop of Homero Ortega where we saw the laborious process of weaving with toquille straw (from the toquille palm) and all the finishing processes involved. Needless to say we all bought hats.
In Riobamba we visited Marco who showed us how he crafts tagua nuts into other objects.
We also visited a workshop that works with balsa wood to carve, burn and paint figures of the animals that inhabit the country, parrots being the most popular.
Also a favorite were the Canelos Quichua ceramics in the Madre Tierra workshop in Puyo. The geometric designs which they paint on with a brush made from own hair and then rub with leaves and fire on a wood kiln are truly beautiful and entrancing. I recently saw a fabulous exhibit of these ceramics at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento called Rain Forest Visions.
to see more about this exhibit click here