In 2012, Jose Rincon went home to visit his family in Bogotá, Colombia. But on his first trip home since moving to Melbourne more than five years ago, he ended up 900 kilometres from where he had expected, searching the desert for a tribe of Colombian nomads called the Wayuu people.
The question as to how he ended up driving all of those miles off-course can be explained quite simply – he saw an old lady in the street selling the most beautiful woven bag he had ever seen. It was hand-stitched and bursting with colour, made with delicate hands and intricate technique over a period of six weeks.
Once they got talking, he realised she was a world away from her people, selling the bags so that she could bring back food and water for her family. So without so much as a plan, Rincon dropped everything and spent the rest of his trip searching the desert for the travelling tribe.
When he found the Wayuu people, he discovered that the bags were a link to the tribe’s ancient traditions, their affinity with the land and their history. He discovered that each bag tells an intimate story of time and place, and that no two bags are the same.
Mesmerised, Rincon made arrangements to bring a shipment back home to Australia and he’s now selling them online under the name Armadillo Goes Green. Each season he plans to dedicate the range to a different tribe in Colombia and give a percentage of the profits back to the community.
For more information on the Wayuu people, or to browse the catalogue, visit the Armadillo Goes Green website.