Dona Mariañita

Thumbnail image for Dona Marianita Today.JPG

Mariana de Jesus Lozano (Doña Mariañita), was a pleasure to interview. She is an indigenous woman whose mother taught her to bead when she was 14. She brought out her photo album and showed me pictures of her life--a lot of pictures of when she was a young woman and underwent the "novio ceremony" to become married to her husband. Beautiful blue cloths wrapped around them, a ceremony at the church, a return to the house of her mother-in-law riding horses in the midst of a procession of musicians including a drummer and an accordion player. This is a photo of her today. Below is a photo of her about 20 years ago, which  she allowed me to reproduce using my camera.


Dona Marianita 20 years ago.JPG

She had many picture of friends who are foreigners and Ecuadorians from Loja and other cities, including photos of her friend "Lynn" who is an anthropologist and appears to have been here perhaps 20 years ago. I believe this is Lynn Meisch--will have to follow up on this. The interview with Doña Mariañita lasted about 45 minutes.


She was working on an all gold, small-beaded huallca that was commissioned by another woman. She said she no longer really makes necklaces for the market, because the shop keepers are very cheap and do not pay enough for her work. She makes most of her work on commission now, usually with the client providing special beads that she wants used--for example the metallic gold beads she was using to make this single color necklace were very small and fine and had been purchased in the U.S. by a member of the client's family. Doña Mariañita will receive $30 for her work (she would get at most $20 from a shop-keeper in town, and she would have had to purchase the beads herself). With her permission I took several photos of her and the work as we talked. I asked if she makes necklaces for herself (she does) and if she makes them as gifts for friends. This last brought some interesting information. She does not make necklaces as gifts, she says, because she is very poor, and can't really afford the beads or the time for such an extravagant gift. She said the large gold huallca she is making will take her two weeks of on and off work, with perhaps two hours a day of labor, because she can't sit for longer than that. She does, however, make the narrow loomed bracelets one sees here as gifts for her friends. She had one she was working on, and she wanted to gift it to me, but it was neither finished, nor quite large enough for my wrist. She retrieved a basket from inside that had some beads, and which she thought had a couple of other bracelets she had made, but they were gone. "Los chicos," she said, meaning that her sons had taken them for their own uses.


Dona Marianita's Family 40 Years Ago.JPG

She allowed me to take photos of a couple of her old photos, including a shot of her mother and father some years ago. She pointed out with pride all of the things in the photo that were her mother's artesanias--including several de colores huallcas that appear to have been very much larger than the models I see women wearing now. Other artesanias included woven wool blankets, belts, red ponchos woven in the colors traditional to Cañar, and, of course, her mother is spinning with a hand spindle in picture. Her mother is looking at her spinning work, not the camera, as if she could not take time away from this basic task even to pose for a moment for what is clearly a family portrait--an interesting glimpse into the work-focused mind of this woman. Everyone else in the portrait is looking at the camera, the father with something of a smirky scowl. The elder brother even holds the family puppy so that it is looking at the camera, but the mother focuses on her handwork. Later I found out from Anita that Doña Mariañita's mother, whose name was Asuncion Lozano, was the first woman in Tuncarta to make beaded necklaces. Anita thought that Linda Belote might have known Asuncion.

Dona Marianita B&W Cropped copy.jpg

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This page contains a single entry by David Syring published on August 2, 2009 11:33 AM.

Beginning Individual Interviews with Las Calcutas was the previous entry in this blog.

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