Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Buy Colombian for Christmas

Colorful pottery for sale by Artesanias de Colombia. 

Looking for that last-minute Christmas gift?

Why not choose something beautiful that'll also help boost Colombia's economy - particularly its poor people?

Artesanias' store is in an elegant,
500 year-old building.
A great place to start is Artesanias de Colombia, the government's official handicrafts business, which hopefully returns a fair amount of the profits to the artisans who do the work.

Visit Artesanias' beautiful store on Jimenez Ave., alongside the historic Iglesia de las Aguas, and you won't be disappointed. To start off with, the store is in an elegant five-century-old building, which has been a prison, monastery and hospital, amongst many other uses. The courtyard is furnished with several antique objects, including an old weaving machine still in working order.

Artesanias markets the work of indigenous, Afro-Colombian and other artisans, and also publicizes Colombia's tremendous variety of folk art. You can find handicrafts cheaper elsewhere, but you're not likely to get the same quality.

If nothing else, the premises are worth a visit just to stroll thru the 500-year-old building and admire all the colors and textures.

Colorful hats. 

Carved wooden canoes.

Artesanias' store on Jimenez Ave. is beside the beautiful Las Aguas Church. 

Two women talk in the building's courtyard. 

Clay dolls. 

Hanging hammocks. 

Masks, some made by Afro-Colombians. 

Hanging hammocks. 

Pottery modeled after that made by the Muisca Indians, perhaps to drink chicha.

Necklaces made from jungle plant seeds. 

Pottery from the state of Tolima. 

A weaving machine in the building's courtyard. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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