Guandacol Looms

Weaving is a craft that has been revalued because there are people who continuously rescue that ancient task and spread the word about its existence.

A cooperative made up by women referred to as "teleras" (weavers) may be visited at Guandacol, a town close to Villa Unión with a life of its own and restless people.

“Teleras” are people who practice the art of handling the looms. They have been passed that skill from their elders, who used the wool from their own sheep, turned into fleece first and into thread later, in order to make products such as dresses and ponchos that would be used to keep their family members warm.

As we reached the place where they usually work and offer their fabrics and garments for sale, we were welcomed by Estela, Mirta, Agustina, María Adela and Miriam, who were ready to show off their skills. In the yard, a huge criollo loom was planted on the ground holding an unfinished piece.

  • The art of handling the looms

    The art of handling the looms

  • Ready to show off their skills

    Ready to show off their skills

  • Ponchos that would be used to keep their family

    Ponchos that would be used to keep their family

  • Precious pieces

    Precious pieces

  • Salesroom


  • Keep traditions

    Keep traditions

Our curious eyes carefully studied how the loom had been prepared, the disposition of the warp, some of whose threads had previously been tinged. Then, we appreciated the coming and going of the shuttle in order to weave the weft. We also noticed the exact point of tension necessary to create a uniform and compact fabric.

"The materials? Sheep wool. It should be washed and dried in the open air. In certain cases, natural dyes are used. They are made from local roots and plants, namely: jarilla, chañar and the like. Some garments are tinged with aniline. It all depends on the technique," we were said.

Other items like the spindle and the spinning wheel appeared later. The weavers master them to spin the wool. One fiber is twisted around the other and together they make up the thread that will compose the fabric.

We then moved onto the salesroom, where we could observe several objects made by the weavers. Table cloths, bags, but especially the classic poncho from La Rioja, highly coveted by locals and visitors alike. Red combined with beige and brown appeared in every poncho at sight.

We felt really enthusiastic about the job done by these ten ladies who take part in the group of tejedoras. Their talented hands have created precious pieces. They are pleased to welcome visitors as a chance of showing the entire process of this craft.

The need to weave ponchos for the men who went out to work the fields may have been left behind. However, it is a good idea to insist on the image left by these women from Guandacol, who seek to preserve the customs of their ancestors.

Agrupación de Artesanas Unay
Salesroom in Guandacol and at Talampaya National Park.

Autor Mónica Pons Fotografo Eduardo Epifanio


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