Ñanduti is traditional Paraguayan lace that’s probably one of the most stunning parts of Paraguayan culture.
There are many legends about its origins, but my favorite one is about a Guarani woman whose forbidden love was wrongfully murdered in the jungle one night. When she found him the next morning, she saw that a spider had built its web over his body to protect it from the wild animals who roamed the jungle. As a tribute to that spider, she created ñanduti.
I started learning ñanduti between my last year of service and my first year of college, thinking that I might adopt it as a hobby during the school year. That didn’t quite work out, due to a lack of time and a lack of materials… but I’m back at it now, and I’m now trying to make it a constant in my life.
Of course, my return to ñanduti coincided with the pandemic shutting down life as we knew it. It has become my new way of feeling productive while watching TV or sitting through endless Zoom calls, and it’s a great way to bring color into my life when my house feels dreary and the 1 x 2 meter square of grass in the back yard doesn’t feel refreshing enough.
And because I can’t possibly do anything without being overly-ambitious about it, I’ve started a small ñanduti business to more seriously commit to continuing with this craft. You can find me as @nasimcrafts on Instagram and Facebook, and let me know if you would like to purchase any of the designs! I’m happy to create custom pieces if you’re looking for anything specific.
As time goes on, I’d like to start putting them on pencil cases, makeup bags and tote bags — and maybe even trying to make those incredible ñanduti hats I’ve seen on the internet.