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Ecuador Artists

Updated on July 26, 2017
Nolimits Nana profile image

Nicki Goff: Teacher, gardener, author, painter – following my heart and expanding my awareness.

Ecuador art can be unique, charming, diverse, and historical at the same time. In our travels in northern Ecuador, we've met and enjoyed musicians, painters, weavers, potters, silversmiths, knitters and carvers. Many of these artists and artisans display and sell their work daily in the outdoor market in Plaza de los Ponchos in Otavalo.

The products in the market are made in the surrounding villages, where the indigenous artists work in their homes. Here you can find rugs, hangings, toys, carvings, shawls, sweaters, paintings, jewellry  and much, much more. Some of it is original, some of it is mass produced.

Overview of Plaza de los Ponchos, Otavalo

Even on a quiet weekday, the marketers in Otavalo are ready for business.
Even on a quiet weekday, the marketers in Otavalo are ready for business.
Yarns waiting to be made into sweaters in Otavalo workshop
Yarns waiting to be made into sweaters in Otavalo workshop
Indigenous Otavalan market - waiting for customers
Indigenous Otavalan market - waiting for customers
One of the countless handknit sweaters for sale in Otavalo.
One of the countless handknit sweaters for sale in Otavalo.

Craft Villages

From colonial times, Ecuador has adopted a guild system. Each village specializes in one type of craft, and excels in it.

In Cotacachi, a few minutes by car north of Otavalo, leather workers create stylish and quality  leather shoes and clothing, exquisite saddles, beautiful handbags, and leather luggage.

In Peguche, the master weavers offer quality textiles in wool and cotton. There you can purchase wall hangings, rugs, woven shawls and sweaters, all for a fraction of the cost you'd pay in North America.

In San Antonio de Ibarra, wood carvers and furniture makers work from their studios and shops along the main street. Their works vary from simple ornaments to beautiful inlaid furniture, to exquisitely carved and finished religious icons.

Beautiful handmade saddles in a Cotacachi shop, along with hats, horsehair lassos, and other equestrian items.
Beautiful handmade saddles in a Cotacachi shop, along with hats, horsehair lassos, and other equestrian items.
Religious iconry from master carvers in San Antonio de Ibarra is carved, gessoed and hand painted.
Religious iconry from master carvers in San Antonio de Ibarra is carved, gessoed and hand painted.
Detailed wall rug in Peguche - this piece has amazing movement!
Detailed wall rug in Peguche - this piece has amazing movement!

Import Export Tour

In one visit to Ecuador, my sister and I attended an import/export tour with Gary and Merri Scott. For five days, our group travelled from Quito to the northern province of Imbabura. We learned about the arts and crafts of Ecuador from the extensive experience of this couple.

Merri began 'suitcase importing' as a young woman when she travelled into Mexico and brought back unique handicrafts for sale. The Scotts have learned how to turn their passions into profit, and excel in teaching others how to do the same.

We were privileged to see and buy from some of these artists at a crafts showing in our hotel in Cotacachi during the March Import/Export tour. We visited the studios of other local artists during the five days of the tour.

Stylized Design...

Nativo is the signature of one of the artists of this area who has developed and perfected a unique art form. On thick rough paper, handmade from recycled sources, he creates abstract designs that incorporate the flora, fauna and ancient symbols of Ecuador. His works are simple, stylized pieces, created with metallic designs on the rough painted paper.

In his latest works he has added color to the backgrounds, making even more outstanding designs and art pieces.

Art of Nativo

Using pre-Colombian symbols, this is titled Colibris Magicos - Magical Hummingbirds
Using pre-Colombian symbols, this is titled Colibris Magicos - Magical Hummingbirds
Rayos del Sol y Vida - the Sun's rays and Life - more use of pre-Columbian design motifs
Rayos del Sol y Vida - the Sun's rays and Life - more use of pre-Columbian design motifs

Birds in Watercolour

Montero is another artist we have met, and whose work we admire. His paintings of the birds and flora of Ecuador show exquisite detail and skill. His specialty is the many hummingbirds and other birds found in Ecuador, and each is rendered in watercolor with vibrant color. He is now making prints of some of his work. Both of these artists also display and sell their work in the Otavalo market.

Montero's hummingbird captured in vibrant colour.
Montero's hummingbird captured in vibrant colour.
Hawk
Hawk

Master Weaver...

In the village of Peguche, Jose Cotacachi lives and weaves. He is a master weaver, specializing in fine wall hangings. His designs vary from traditional Ecuadorean images to detailed more 'modern' pieces.

No shoddy weaving here - all pieces are tightly woven, well finished, and often signed. He works and displays and sells his work in an airy studio/workroom just off the main square in Peguche, as well as in local shops.


Jose Cotacachi - Master Weaver

Jose Cotacachi at work in his weaving studio.
Jose Cotacachi at work in his weaving studio.
Intricate design with native imagery and excellent weaving from Peguche
Intricate design with native imagery and excellent weaving from Peguche
More traditional design
More traditional design

These are just three of the Ecuadorean artists whose work is original, inspiring and creative. I've been fortunate to see and admire their work, and to obtain pieces from each for my own enjoyment.


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    • profile image

      DUNCAN 

      2 years ago

      I bought a painting from Nativo when I was in Ecuador 18months ago. It is large and beautiful and I wish I had bought more!!

      DUNCAN from Toronto

    • profile image

      madmax7@telus.net 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful work' I am interested in importing wool sweaters from Ecuador or Peru. Please contact me at the above add. Thx madmax.

    • profile image

      Herman Avila JR. 

      8 years ago

      I am looking to obtain any information on Ecuador painter Marco Alquinga I have one of his painting and looking to buy more if possible. My email is pavila1954@yahoo.com

      Thank You

    • Nolimits Nana profile imageAUTHOR

      Nicolette Goff 

      8 years ago from British Columbia

      Kristin: you aren't alone in admiring Nativo's work. We love it. At this time there is no North American outlet for this artist. We see his work (and always purchase several pieces) on our trips to Ecuador. If you'd like to contact me through Hubpages, I can give you more information. We've seriously thought about bringing Nativo's works back with us and selling them here for him.

    • profile image

      Kristin 

      8 years ago

      I love the paper art by Nativo. Is there a source to purchase this art?

    • Nolimits Nana profile imageAUTHOR

      Nicolette Goff 

      9 years ago from British Columbia

      You are welcome! Thanks for reading.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 

      9 years ago from NW Indiana

      Wow, Thanks so much for sharing this. I just love the colors they use with such gusto. Nice photos, what fun to read this hub.

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