These backpacks are very traditional. they have no metal parts, only thread! They measure about 36 cm (14 in) high and about 25 com (10 in) wide. The thread is acrylic, so the bags last a long time, and can be machine washed in cold water, and then air dried.
The Wayuu women start learning about knitting when they are little girls watching their mothers knit. They gain more extensive training during puberty, when they are cloistered for long periods of time and their moms and grandmothers (the only people who can see them during this period) teach them sewing, weaving, cooking, and other useful skills. Wayuu women are such skilled knitters that they even knit while they walk around!
In their culture, a myth says that a spider-like deity taught a Wayuu woman how to knit. Wayuu bags represent the Wayuu women's lives. They carry their lives. The bags start “small, like our lives and the straps represent our destiny.” The designs represent plants, animals, starts, and their clans' symbols. Different colors also have different meanings: red is blood and blue is wisdom. Yellow represents happiness; beige is land; pinks and oranges are flowers; green is trees.
The selling of handcrafts is fundamental to the survival of the Wayuu people. By buying their bags you're helping their economical development and the passing on of their culture. Also, part of the profits will be donated to susceptible communities. Each $50 purchase will help feed 5 Wayuu children through The Wayuu Taya Foundation.