For a man, his “baby” is usually a vintage car, a showy electronic, or maybe, maybe, a big dog. For a young woman, though, hers is usually a sparkly dress, a special purse, or maybe, maybe, a fluffy puppy. I have many a sparkly dress and many a special purse, but until yesterday my wardrobe had seen nothing like this beauty:
I call her Sofia. She is a mochila Wayúu, and she took at least one month for one woman to weave.
As Seth and I shopped for mochilas Arhuacas for him and his brother Eliot, I kept my eyes open for mochilas Wayúu. I liked the more subtle, earth-toned Arhuacan bags, sure, but the Wayúu were more colorful, more fun, more my style. On one particular day in November, I spotted a beautiful mochila Wayúu with a teal background and red, pink, mint green, and navy details. I didn’t buy it, and I spent the next two months wondering if I messed up. Was it the bag that got away? I convinced Seth that we should return to the artisan craft stalls this weekend to search for it, you know, just in case. Sure enough, the vendor I had initially spotted with “the bag that got away” somehow still had the bag in question on display. But when I saw it, I was no longer feeling it; I wanted something different. I politely asked the vendor to bring out more mochilas with teal, red, and pink threads. The vendor did as I requested, but none of the mochilas spoke to me. Not a single one. After a few more rounds, the woman finally brought me Sofia. The bag possessed some of the exact colors I was trying to avoid—for example, I hate, hate, hate orange—but when I saw it, I somehow changed my mind. Something just… clicked. I simply loved it, and I knew no other bag would ever compare. I imagined taking Sophia to the Eje Cafetero, even back to the States. Wouldn’t she look amazing with cowboy boots? I thought to myself. It would be a perfect union of my two most recent worlds: Colombia and Texas. They say, “When you know, you know.” Well, I knew.