Oyanca - pine needle artisans of El Cerro from Nicaragua
Nicaragua's state of Chinandega lies along the Pacific Ocean, with miles of beaches rising into dry coastal hills covered with pines.
The women of El Cerro, a tiny community near the town of Cinco Puntos, have turned these pine trees' dropped needles into a creative craft. Under the leadership of Yeiba Guevara, 30 women gather and clean the dropped pine needles, then weave them together with threads and ribbons to create baskets, boxes, and even magazine holders, hats, and purses!
The weaving process is simple, but the execution and skill involved truly make each piece a work of artistry. Through selling their pine needle crafts, the women are able to bolster their families' incomes and send their children to school. The artisans constantly develop new designs to appeal to international audiences, ensuring that El Cerro's coastal pines will continue to provide more than just shade to the people who live there.