Last February I traveled to Chile to visit my family and friends and also to further research Crin weaving and learn some new techniques. I drove with my mother Eugenia to Panimavida (4 hours south from Santiago) the closest town to Rari(a small country village where the Crin craft was created).
Upon arriving we got in contact with Amanda Salas, a Crin artisan that has been doing the craft all her life. Amanda agreed to teach me a few weaving techniques and also tell me more about the craft and her personal connection with it. She welcome us warmly and show us her little store which is located in the front part of her house in Panimavida.
Amanda invited us to her house workshop to start the classes and gave us a nice cup of tea. She immediately started talking about how she learnt weaving, her connection with the Crin craft and how it was transmitted from mothers to daughters as a family tradition. Amanda learnt to weave when she was a little girl and never stopped doing it : Crin has been her life's passion. She told us that through the sale of her craft work she has been able to contribute to the household costs and the education of her children.
I had classes for two days learning new weaving techniques and sharing stories with Amanda. During the classes I was able to see how skilled and talented she was and her ability to construct the most intricate shapes and convert them into beautiful figures of flowers, butterflies, humans in traditional Chilean costumes, etc. One of Amanda's greatest achievements was the creation of the "Mapucha" a beautiful figure that represents a Chilean indigenous Mapuche women weaving in a traditional loom.
The last day Amanda invited us to have dinner with her and her husband who was also a craftsmen. We had a lovely time with them eating Chilean traditional food and talking about life. We said goodbye and afterwards we drove to the Rari village where we visited other craftswomen's houses to see their Crin creations.
Back in Santiago my mother and I met Amanda's daughter, Hilda Diaz Salas who is also a Crin artisan and well known in the city for her beautiful Crin designs. Hilda invited us to her workshop where we spoke about her work and tough me intricate weaving techniques. Hilda creates contemporary Crin designs and won a UNESCO Recognition of Excellence Prize in 2012 for her spectacular bridal bouquet.
Like her mother, Hilda is a highly skill artisan who can create just about any shape you can imagine and translate elaborate ideas into beautiful Crin designs. Both mother and daughter are extremely generous people willing to teach the Crin weaving to anyone that is interested in learning. They are proud of been Crin artisans and hope more young people get interested in this unique Chilean craft. I thank them both for their generosity in sharing their knowledge, skills and stories with me and I hope one day I can be as good an artisan as they are and further promote the Chilean craft worldwide.