Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Colombian Crafts

I should first say that Colombia is not an inexpensive country, in most respects. A mid-range hotel costs $80-150. A nice dinner for two costs about $30-50. A bottle of water costs $2. A fast food meal costs about $10 (significantly more than the U.S.).

That said, I bought very few locally made crafts. I had hoped to find pottery - specifically large ceramic bowls for wedding gifts - and found very little. I do love the weaving style shown here, and plan to do some research into how to do it myself.

My favorite store by far was Galeria Kano. There are many locations, the best of which is in the Zona Rosa district in Bogota (the mall location, not the street one). Galeria Kano specializes in fairly inexpensive, gold-plated reproductions of pre-colombian artifacts. Some is very subtle, some definitely is not. It's nice work, and when you buy it they give you a card that states the region and time period of the original artifact.

Other stuff? Turtle shell bowls and utensils, which I think are beautiful but can't ethically allow myself to buy. Painted furniture, which I was told would be ripped apart in customs. Lots of random trinkets, such as wooden fish, that seem to be common to a lot of areas in Latin America. Rum - did you know that Colombia now has to import molasses to make rum? There's no current entirely Colombian rum brand. They still grow sugar, but the by-products are made into a gasoline additive.

Finally, crochet? Yes, I was amazed at the number of fabric stores, most of which carry crochet hooks and cotton crochet thread. Knitting needles were rare. I saw numerous garments in the tourist shops in Cartegena with crocheted trim. And swim suits of course. I actually wore my crocheted suit - for a couple of hours at least. Man, it really gets itchy after awhile!