In Ecuador, one of the most fascinating countries in South America with a great cultural heritage, there is a small town called Zuleta. It is known for amazing hand-made embroidery once created by local indigenous women.
Embroidery is a technique of decorating fabric with various textile elements, which eventually forms a beautiful pictorial pattern. The traditional embroidery of Zuleta emerged as a reflection of the beauty of the incredible environment in the local area.
For centuries, this art has been passed down from mother to daughter in the Andean community of the town and now is an important part of artistic expression. Zuleta’s unique style of embroidery is an integral part of local culture, which, thanks to the artisans, has been preserved by now.
Before getting down to embroidering, women choose the fabric assiduously. Then, they make sketches of the future piece and select threads and stitches for it. It takes a lot of time and patience to reach the high quality. Usually, embroidery is applied to blouses, shirts, towels, tablecloths and other textiles.
Traditional women’s blouses are decorated with embroidery on the collar. A woman’s outfit is completed with a pleated multi-colored skirt, a hat and a choker. Black or white espadrilles are worn on her feet.
For the men’s wear, embroidery is applied to the shirt cuffs, and a traditional poncho is worn on top.
The unique style of the Zuleta embroiderers has not changed much even though this tradition is several centuries old. Just some colors and design have been slightly adapted to give the ancient handicraft a more modern look. Today, these amazing patterns can be seen on different types of clothing – dresses, jackets, shoes and more.
Selling traditional embroidery remains the main source of income for the residents of Zuleta as tourists visiting the town invariably buy their products because of the outstanding beauty. And Ecuadorians believe that Zuleta embroidery is a unique tradition that should never be lost.
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