Thursday, October 29, 2015

My Heart is Full // Paraguay

Paraguay Illustration by Ana Maria Sanchez

I took a special family trip for a couple of weeks to Paraguay and Brazil. I had not been back to Paraguay in about 8 years. I decided to take this trip with my parents since it had been 12 years since my father had gone to visit his family. Both of my parents were born and raised in Paraguay so it was a treat to see my extended family. I knew that it would be a special trip since he planned to collect information about his family to write the family history. I was able to meet relatives I had never met before and hear interesting stories about the family.
In our down time I was able to sneak out and go to downtown Asuncion and purchase some artisanal handcrafts. Here are some pictures from shopping at La Recova and downtown close to Plaza de los Heroes. There are outdoor street vendors on Palma St between Iturbi and 14 de Mayo streets. La Recova has several shops on the outside corridor as well as inside in the larger warehouse style building. The outside walkway has a series of large white arches, so it is a very recognizable building.

Photo by Julio Ruben Elizeche Flores

La Recova

Shopping here with my mother and aunt

Trying to decide what goodies to buy

Lots of nativity sets and clay roosters

Red cotton dress with encaje ju The encaje ju is originally from Spain, in guaranĂ­ it means “Fabric of Needles”. It consist of a textile embroidered with very thin threads, over a frame. There exists many different types of embroidery, each one with different motifs: flowers, stars, geometric shapes, etc.

Here is a short video of someone making the lace called Encaje ju.

Ao po'i shirt
Photo from AOSA

Here is a video in spanish showing you how they handloom and embroider the cotton.

I did not get a chance to also visit the town Luque in Paraguay to expand my collection of sterling silver artisan filigree jewelry. I did find these 2 incredible hand wrapped filigree rings though at La Recova.

Going back to Paraguay was like reawakening a part of me that had been dormant for many years. I enjoyed reconnecting with my family and roots. I will not let another 8 years pass before going down again. After all family is the most important thing in the world.

Ana Maria