Textile apprenticeship opportunity in coastal Ecuador-summer 2015


This summer in July, I will be returning to coastal Ecuador.  I am looking for ONE or at most, TWO women who already have some experience working with cotton fiber who would seriously like to learn the coastal Ecuadorian technology presented in the films.   If so, how would you like to accompany me in mid July for two weeks for an informal apprenticeship with coastal artisans in Manabí Province?








We will learn their cotton preparation and spinning techniques as well as how to weaveIMG_0255 on a vertical loom, apprenticing with the last weaver in the province who knows how to execute the traditional designs as well as from a weaver of hammocks, and from cotton spinners.

This is an unprecedented opportunity for the right woman for fun, learning and adventure.   My friend, the weaver Laverne Waddington accompanied me in 2007.  We had a blast.

Laverne learning how to spin--coastal Ecuadorian style

Laverne learning how to spin–coastal Ecuadorian style

I am unlikely to offer this again.  I am doing so now in an attempt to help revitalize this weaving tradition, on the verge of extinction, by providing some work for the last practitioners of this fiber art in Manabí Province.

Each apprentice would return home with her own wall hanging patterned in traditional geometric motifs that she played a role in weaving.

IMG_1588For the interested student, there is also the possibility of learning the ancient methods of indigo dyeing used by the great great grandmothers in this region–a method that is unique in the worldwide literature on indigo dyeing.

Fresh leaf indigo

Fresh leaf indigo

While knowledge of Spanish would be helpful, it is not a prerequisite as I will serve as interpreter.  However, what is more important is that the person be positive, easy-going and flexible, both mentally and physically so as to be able to savor, rather than complain about rustic living in the countryside of coastal Ecuador.


You will not be staying in a 5 star hotel, but in Doña Luz’s home or in her daughter-in-law’s home next door.  You will have your own bed with a mattress, and sleep under mosquito netting.   There is an indoor flush toilet and shower with hot water.  We will eat meals prepared by Doña Luz’s daughter-in-law.   You will drink water that has been purified.

However, I need to emphasize that this is not a tour, nor am I serving as a tour guide. I also assume no liability for any mishaps, or for your health.  However, if you are my traveling companion and living and learning as an apprentice alongside of me,  I can assure you that all measures to protect your health and safety will be taken as I normally do for myself.  You will be responsible for covering the cost of your own transportation and living expenses in-country plus providing a modest fee to be determined paid directly to the artisans in exchange for their sharing of their knowledge and expertise with you.  You would also be paying a very modest fee for having your meals prepared.


Doña Luz's home

Doña Luz’s home

In order to get an idea of where you would be living and what you would learning, view The Ancient Cotton Fiber Art of Manabí Province, Coastal Ecuador.

If you are seriously interested in participating and believe that you may be the right person for this adventure,  you may contact me via this blog in order to start a private e-mail communication.  Go to the blue “contact” tab on the main page.



7 Responses to “Textile apprenticeship opportunity in coastal Ecuador-summer 2015”

  • I am interested in learning more about the apprenticeship. I spin some cotton – on a spindle and I just started weaving on a rigid-heddle loom. But I am an accomplished knitter, spinner and sewer.

  • Michelle Bos says:

    Hi! This is extremely exciting to me!! I learned to back strap in Guatemala .. I have only done a couple of scarves and a 1/2 a pair of pants 🙂 I have knit pants , felted pants , sewn pants .. I want SO much to learn better the whole process !!! I LoVe Ecuador!!! Please let me know how I can connect with you more about this apprenticeship!! Thank you! Oh I have traveled through Central America , Mexico and several countries in South America alone by bus. I speak Spanish badly but can get by just fine.. I get better every time 🙂 I look forward to hearing from you!!

  • Amber McVicar says:

    I also am very interested in participating in this apprenticeship. Thus far, I have been working mostly with wool, hand-spinning & weaving on a floor & backstrap loom. Last fall I took a class taught by Laverne, focused on pebble weave, supplementary & warp float. She is an excellent teacher!
    I just started hand spinning cotton with the woman I live with, i haven’t gotten the chance to work with plant much,but I would love to!
    I look forward to hearing from you very much!

  • Janet Finch says:

    hello. I am very interested in your spinning and weaving apprenticeship. I have been spinning for 20 years and still find more to learn all the time. I have been learnings Backstrap weaving from Lavern Waddingon for several years and practicing between her visits. I enjoy working with my own handspun yarns,usually wool or alpaca. I would love to work on my cotton spinning skills.

    Amber McVivar is a friend of mine. She and I would be interested in traveling and studying together if you decide to take on two students together.

    My Spanish language is weak, but I am willing to try, and know how to use a phrase book. Given a few months, Amber and I can brush up on spoken Spanish.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards,

  • Terry says:

    I am interested in more information about this opportunity, if you are not insistent on already having cotton spinning experience. I have only tried spinning cotton one time, but have spun flax and many protein fibers. I have travelled to remote places but have only minimal Spanish language skill. I am a weaver and am very interested in the indigo dying. also, always interested in helping to keep weaving/spinning techniques alive.

  • Sand says:

    Hi Lavern, I would love to know more about Doña Luz and her incredible spinning/weaving skills. This is a TIMELY request as I am actually here in Manta, Manabi right now! My husband and I are SENSITIVELY looking for Indigenous methods of spinning Kapok cotton here in Ecuador. We work with many Indigenous nations here in the Ecuadorian rain forest. We were on our way to Otavalo (we leave Wednesday evening) to meet with some wonderful weavers there. We would be very grateful to hear from you at your earliest convenience -which we hope will be some time today (Tues 21st July). Abrazos, Sand xx

  • Kathleen says:

    Hi Sand,

    So sorry that I have been unable to respond to your comment and e-mail until now. When I received it, I Was preparing to go to Quito and then Otavalo to also visit with weavers there. Did you make it to Miguel Andrango’s workshop in Agato?

    Am back in the States now. Very interesting! Tell me more about yourselves and your project. Did you ever find a spinner of Kapok cotton on the coast? From where or from whom did you learn about this possibility? Abrazo, Kathie (p.s. I am not Laverne).

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