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Behind Iris eyes

Sat, 08/06/2016 - 01:00 -- admin

In the middle of our deserted road we found Iris IPuana, one of the Knitters that works with SUSU. She was born a knitter; since her childhood, she has been unleashing the stories of a region by sharing all the knowledge that her mother taught her. We were full of expectation and willing to understand, learn and live the reflection of how life interweaves between threads of the lives of all these knitters. Iris tells us that since she was 8 years old she started to knit mochilas (bucket bags), she states that she makes 3 mochilas per month; she closes her eyes and says that up to today, she has done around 700 bags. It is incredible to see how Iris keeps track of this number in such a magical way. In a seamless and honest way, she lets all her words come out even though these number could be incorrect. But the way she explains her story, sounds as natural as when she knits. She says the maximum time she takes to make one mochila is two weeks. We closely look around, taking some of La Guajira warm weather, while she gets inspired again and like unleashing every strand, she starts to tell us about the story of every pattern. The heritage of this tradition started with a girl from the region. One day a boy went to hunt, and while he was walking he heard a strange noise. He went to look for its origin and found a girl. She was quietly playing with some ants. He asked for her name but she didn't want to respond. He kept insisting, until she finally told him her name. Her name was Cocorana, and she told him that she was alone. He decided to take her to his place to live with his sisters. He, as typically practiced in the ‘rancherias’ (farms) went to hunt every night, but his sisters were really bad to Cocorana because she was not pretty. Without mercy, they always make her sleep on the floor. When he arrived from his hunting trip, she only expressed her pain with a hundred tears, she will hug him and keep silence. One of those nights, the sisters decided to leave Cocorana sleeping outside. She fell asleep while crying; in her dreams there were a lot of revelations. She became a beautiful woman, and from her mouth and like a spider builds her web, started knitting and the colors twined. The boy’s sisters found the knitted patterns made by Cocorana close to the tree were the girl was sleeping, and decided to steal them and claim that they made them. Cocorana spent one more night knitting all of her emotions through the mouth, and the boy found out the truth. The next night, the boy’s sisters were transformed into bats and Cocorana in gratitude to the boy, made the decision to show him her transformation while making him promise to keep the secret. One day some spirits came to visit the boy and ask him about the beautiful patterns, trying to keep his promise, he didn't say anything but the spirits found a way to make him talk and went looking for the girl without finding her. The day after, the boy woke up and went looking for the girl to ask for forgiveness. He felt guilty for breaking the promise. He ran everywhere, and looked in every tree, but the only thing he found was a “wareke”. The story says that because of all of her suffering, she transformed into the “wareke” which is a spider web. And from that moment, the Wayúu patterns, the kanas, came to life. “The Wayúu ancestral knitting is what we create with one strand, what you express, the kanas, comes from our past, from our ancestors. It passes from mother to child successively. From the patterns that I create, the one I like the most is Jañumeruikiiyaa, the ‘head of the fly’ (cabeza de la mosca), because you can knit it in a fast way and is easy to remember. I also knit based on colors. There are some cheerful colors, and opaque colors, what helps me share my mood, it depends of the person” - Iris tells us all this, in a way that we get transported to her feeling through each color. We get transported to her dreams. We get transported to every feeling she transmits through her eyes and her hands. Besides expressing and reflecting a culture, the Wayúu mochilas are part of a tradition that transmits their wisdom. The story that once was told by Iris mother’s hands, is now being told by Iris’ hands and in the future, it will be told by her own daughter which is just 1-year-old today. Iris ensures that knitting makes her more independent and helps her support her family. “For me is really important that we teach our children about our real ancestral knitting because that is a way we can let ourselves be known around the world. We can show the world who we are, where we come from, through our patterns and the way we express ourselves through our knitting.” Every time that we hold a mochila in our hands, we hold the history, the values of a culture and a job that has the soul from a warm place, sometimes arid and hostile but full of colors, the colors of La Guajira. SUSU transmits in each of the mochilas the knitters’ stories. This patterns are story tellers of tradition and they bring out the emotions and wisdom of each knitter. SUSU represents the work and the value of this tradition, the knitters have travel with the process of the kanas for a long time and they know that creating them requires sentiments. The heart of the Wayuu is in every thread of each design. *Warakes - Spider Knitter in wayuunaiki

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