Many of the women have taught their techniques to their daughters and granddaughters, thus ensuring the hammock-making tradition is kept alive.
Hammocks have been in use in Brazil for centuries, even before the Portuguese landed on their shores in the 15th century. Not only were hammocks used for sleeping, but they were also used for transporting goods.
The people of northeastern Brazil still prefer to sleep in hammocks, whereas throughout the country they served a decorative function that offers enviable relaxation. Therefore, a hammock must be woven with special care — its elaboration includes various steps and the conjoint work of several artisans.
The hammock's main body is woven on a loom, traditional or mechanical, and then it is distributed among groups of women to finish. Some may use treadle looms known as mucamba, whereas others may finish the hammock with crocheted details, all made by hand. Usually the women work from home so they may continue looking after their children.
Antonio José has been working in this way since the 1980s, which has allowed him to offer work to over 100 women in the state of Ceará. Many of the women have taught their techniques to their daughters and granddaughters, thus ensuring the hammock-making tradition is kept alive. It is not an easy task, for many of the younger generations seem to prefer more modern activities. However, as interest grows and the demand for hammocks increases, they are starting to return to work on them.
The women in the older generations have confided that it is their hope that, through your purchases and support, the younger ones will become more interested in making hammocks, and take great pride in doing so.