Alejandro Lozada wrapping our hammock. A genuine Puerto Rican hammock,
most are without the tassels.
Alejandro has been an artisan since he was 8 years old, as was his
father before him. He is best known for his cotton woven hammocks
which are a true craft of Puerto Rico. He lives in the hills above
Las Piedras. You will also find him at many of the artisan fairs,
selling his hammocks, baskets and guiros.
is said the Taino Indians were the inventors of the hammock and
the name, 'hamaca' is a Taino word. They are made of cotton, some
of which is dyed bright colors. You cannot compare the comfort and
beauty of a real Puerto Rican Hammock with the imported cloth variety
sold in the shops and on the sides of the road. Considerably more
expensive, the genuine cotton woven hammock is well worth the price.
basket shown below is made from a local vine that Don Alejandro
periodically gathers in the 'woods' near him. He must first strip
the green off, then dry the vine to prepare it. When he is ready
to weave the baskets ( which he weaves in a variety of shapes) he
first soaks the prepared vine to make it supple. The baskets last
for many, many years. Don Alejandro cautions that the vine must
be picked at the full moon, because if picked at the time of the
new moon it will be susceptible to termite invasion.
gourds are musical instruments ( güirros) which make up an
integral part of local music.
to get to his house and workshop: Get off of Highway #52 at the
first Las Piedras exit coming from Caguas and turn south. ( Burger
King etc, shopping mall is there) going south towards San Lorenzo
you make a left turn onto #917 and go up and up the hills. The first
school you pass on the left is called 'Medina' but you continue
up to a second, larger school with a large basketball court, at
which, you turn right. After a bit you will see a fork in the road,
stay left, down the dip and then, when it starts up again, Don Alejandros
house is a white house, the first on the right.
first! He is not always there. Tel. 787-733-1240 but he does NOT
speak English. Far easier would be to buy one of his ( or other
hammock makers) hammocks at an artisans fair. The smallest hammocks
start at $50. and a large double would be around $150. The basket
shown below was $60. and several small 'doble bun' shaped baskets were