Indigenous handmade tradition

There is a small village in the highlands of Ecuador called Zuleta, which is home to hundreds of incredibly talented artisans. With their hands, they have made of embroidery an expression of high quality art. It’s in this beautiful village where Catelina, a family business, was created. Generation after generation, this family has encouraged women from Zuleta to keep this ancient tradition alive. Together they create the most beautiful garments and pieces of home decor.


The history behind the technique

The tradition of embroidery in Zuleta started some centuries ago when indigenous women from this village applied a technique called “picado” in their garments.

This technique consisted on stitching small pieces of colorful fabric to white clothing in order to create decorative patterns.


The history of this tradition took a turn in 1940 when a former president of Ecuador and his wife arrived to Zuleta. When she observed the skills that native women displayed while using threads and needles, she decided to teach them an embroidery technique that she learned back in Europe. Women in Zuleta mastered the new fusion of techniques and styles creating incredible pieces of art.

An international folk art icon

Back in 2015, one of the youngest members of the Catelina family, Teresa Casa Ponce, was named Great Master of Iberoamerican Folk Art. Such an achievement was received by Teresa as a recognition to the hard work of the dozens of women from Zuleta that work with her. They gather daily to embroider together beautiful textiles but also their dreams and hopes.