Re-designing plastic waste to increase ecological awareness through community-lead initiative.

Mamajagua was a two-year initiative by Colombian artist and designer Norma Albarez and Inmakulate in Santa Marta, northern Colombia. After living many years abroad, Norma returned to her native country and settled in Taganga, where she started a project to clean the local beaches from plastic waste. This effort engaged the help of local fishermen and an inclusive group, from all sectors of the community to collect rubbish from the sea and beach. Not long after, we were overwhelmed by the number of plastic materials, especially bags, that were collected daily.
Mamajagua aimed to work with local indigenous communities to develop hand crochet pieces that showcased the native’s artistry and techniques from macramé weaving. The indigenous communities of Wayu and Tayrona had already been using synthetic yarns to create their ancestral hanging bags called Mochilas, which originally were made from cotton, wool and flax yarns.

Inspired by similar initiatives, a collective was formed to reuse the plastic waste to create handmade yarns, and the Mamajagua project was born.

The project set up and facilitated workshops in Taganga to explore how to develop hand -made yarns from recycled plastics. The workshops were free and open to a local group of people from and were inclusive to any background. The process involved sorting and cleaning the plastics, cutting and forming the plastic yarns to then be used as the main material for crocheting the bags.
The group created mochila bags made from 100% reclaimed plastic from the beach clean-up sessions.

We facilitated a focus group to discuss different design ideas and exchanged knowledge about different techniques of the finishing details. The end product was exhibited in a gallery in New York. Due to the ethical and political circumstances in Colombia at that time, it was not possible to share this project final assessment. We are in the process of raising funding to develop a second phase in collaboration with a local NGO

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Re-designing plastic waste to increase ecological awareness through community-lead initiative.

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