Participant Portfolios / Andean Highlands

María Florinda Coy Castilla

Cook, basket weaver, Sutamarchán

Florinda Coy comes from a family of weavers. She works mostly with the fique plant, a type of sisal that grows at most altitudes in Colombia, but yields the longest and smoothest leaves in the highest regions. Florinda is also familiar with the craft and medicinal uses of various other plant species that grow in her community. And from her grandmother, she learned how to make dyes from such materials as stones, flowers, trees, and other plants. She is the coordinator of the association of artisans in Sutamarchán.

"How could we ever let our fique crafts die? It’s what identifies us as a people."

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María Florinda Coy Castilla
María Florinda Coy Castilla

María Florinda Coy Castillo takes a break from the Sabores y Saberes stage to help organize the junco and esparto crafts.
Photo by Hugh Dorwin, Smithsonian Institution