Day 165

Visit with Nancy: Part 2

Nancy Epulef is a Mapuche woman who weaves very intricate manta caciques (or ceremonial ponchos). She learned this from her mother and grandmother, who learned it from their mothers, etc. – it’s very much a tradition in her family. We visited her once to record her video, and put details of that visit in this post. But in this visit, we learning more about her process of making the manta cacique.

The manta cacique is prepared and created in a very particular way, which Nancy has been doing for years. It is worn by the most important people in the Mapuche community. The colors of the manta are traditionally black or red, and those colors also have specific symbolism in the Mapuche culture.

An important project that the Foundation received funding for this year was to digitize the process of making the manta cacique with Nancy. She’s one of the few Mapuche women in her area that know how to make it in the traditional way.

We arrive, and Nancy greets us and brings us into her kitchen, where she has all of her wool ready for prepping. I capture everything I can with video and photo, and Yasmin asks her some questions about the process.

Today, she showed us how she gathers the wool by spinning on a spindle tool…

Prepares the water to wash the wool…

Washes the wool thoroughly…

Then after it dries, she gathers it into skeins.

This is the first part of a multi-step process with her. The next step is dying the wool (which Yasmin, Kaelig, and Susana attended, but unfortunately, Nick and I missed last week). After that, she’ll show us how she starts the weaving process, which will hopefully be in the next week or so!

Here’s a video of Nancy talking more about the manta cacique and how she learned.

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