On a quiet morning, by the side of the bohio (house), an elder weaves a hammock in the company of her granddaughter. The loom she uses is simple, but efficient: a combination of smooth wooden slats and battens, well worn over the many years of use, strung with well carded cotton yarn. When not in use, the loom framework and tools will be bundled together and tucked away into the house rafters until the next hammock or nagua (woman’s apron) needs to be woven for a family member.
She’s about to thread a new strand of cotton into the weave with a bobbin thick with cotton yarn, when the play of her pet pup and parrot catches her eye. They’ve made her spindle whorl into a toy, and are playing with the loose cotton string. It’s a good thing her granddaughter is spinning new yarn – they’ll need much cotton to complete the hammock, particularly if strands get lost to play.
Despite the pleasant distractions of the day, the cotton hammock begins to take shape in her expert hands. It will take some months to complete the work. Her granddaughter, who wears the fine nagua and new armbands her grandmother wove for her as a gift when she came of age, watches and learns, honing her own skills – she is the next generation of family weavers.