The Making Of A Maguey Bag

 
Image courtesy of   Julian Calder

Image courtesy of Julian Calder

The “Dilly Bag” of Australia, the “Billum Bag” of Papa New Guinea, the “Dajudie Bag” of Bolivia and the “Maguey Bag” of Mexico (to name just a few);  it seems every culture across the globe has a version of these long lasting woven plant fibre bags. Serving as a humble reminder that we all share a common thread – a plant fibre thread if you will!

The Maguey Bag of Mexico employs an ancient technique gifted from generation to generation dating back to the time of Mayans . Handcrafted from the versatile and symbolic agave plant these bags are not only beautiful but highly functional.

Image courtesy of Madison Inouye

Image courtesy of Madison Inouye

The agave plant is an essential part of Mexican culture - responsible for the making of mezcal, tequila, pulque (a traditional fermented beverage) and agave nectar.

They say the process of weaving a maguey bag takes around one-two months from harvest to final product.

Crafted in the highlands of Chiapas where the majority of villager’s speak the ancient Zapotec language. First the fleshy leaves of the agave plant are stripped, revealing the fibre within. This durable fibre is then extracted, cleaned and spun into rope ready for weaving. The weaving process employs a simple wooden block and many years of experience.

Like many indigenous traditions in Mexico (the tortilla, Zaopteca dialects), the Maguey bag is at risk of being phased out and forgotten due to its lengthy production process..

Maguey bags come in a variety of weave thicknesses and tints. To achieve the darker colour, the completed bags are tinted using ash collected from the roofs of the artisan’s homes above their fire stoves.

 Anyone that knows me, has seen me carry my maguey bag - I take it with me everywhere! They make fantastic beach bags, grocery bags (they expand so much) and the smell of them when they get wet is smokey and earthy and incredible.

These pieces are built to last a lifetime.