Semester of Graduation

Summer 2018


Master of Science (MS)


Textiles, Apparel Design, and Merchandising

Document Type



According to the Alliance of Artisan Enterprise from the Aspen Institute, the existence of the artisan enterprise is valuable for native communities since it creates jobs and preserves ancient techniques (Aspen Institute, 2012). The design and development of the Werregue (Astrocaryum Standleyanum) coiled basket is a source of income for indigenous communities in Colombia. This research uses a case study method which employed semi-structured interviews with fifteen skilled Nasa Werregue coiled basketmakers, to analyze the sociocultural characteristics, design, production, and market in Werregue coiled basketry in the Pacific region of Colombia within two research settings, Cali and the village of La Delfina. The findings show that the Werregue coiled basket is seen as a form of cultural currency that can be traded with other indigenous communities as well as with Afro Colombians, and which can also be sold to national and foreign visitors. Within the sociocultural context, there is a division of labor that takes place in its production and market stage. The economic importance of this basket changes the division of labor between women and men in the basketry development process although it was initially a woman's activity. The basket motifs are mainly inspired by nature, gods, and geometric figures that relate to personal and community stories. Four marketing methods are established in order of preference; fairs, craft retailers, indigenous members, and street markets. Conservation methods of the plant species used in the baskets are crucial for preserving the plants and the craft itself. Results in this s study contribute to the understanding of the role of the Werregue coiled basket in the economic development of indigenous communities and its contribution to the handicraft culture in Colombia.



Committee Chair

Kuttruff, Jenna Tedrick