The hands that give life to the Energía Mujer award

Published on Monday, 6 March 2017

With the serenity of the Villarrica volcano as a backdrop, Ana Lagos is getting ready to leave her home and disrupt the deep silence of the village of Molto, located in the heart of the Araucania. With its first rays, the sun starts to warm up and thaw the frosty grass, while the songs of the birds and the barking of the dogs break the disconcerting oppression of the aphonia.

Ana is a professional designer and director of "Hebras del Alma" (Threads of the Soul), a project that started in 2010 which provides opportunities for local craftswomen, so that they, despite their geographical isolation, can generate a monetary contribution to their families.

“The truth is these women had lost the tradition of the Mapuche loom, however wool was a material known to them. So we started by teaching them the felt technique and we started to develop products that were possible to sell in the market"”

– Ana Lagos, director of Hebras del Alma

The workshop is located in Molto, where four Mapuche craftswomen extract the fleece, dye the wool, and work with a needle to separate it, thread by thread, until achieving the desired shape.

They are inspired by the Creole culture to create figures that today are all the rage at major international design fairs. Some of the products have a well-defined ethnic line, others have a more religious one, and others are oriented to the foreign market, where they have received applause in countries such as Germany, Italy, Norway, and Holland.

Work, dedication, affection…

Enel Distribución, convinced of its need to open its energy to the communities, has been including these craftswomen in small corporate projects, allowing them a better quality of life.

But recently there was an even greater challenge. Enel relied on the talent of Mapuche craftswomen to design the new prize for the “Women’s Energy” Award, a national recognition that, since 2007, has been contributing significantly to strengthening the role of women in our society.

The work took three days.  The wool was dyed and experiments were done to achieve accurate colors for each one of the 13 existing categories. The result was a statuette of a strong woman which symbolically incorporates the four colors of the company.

Connecting threads

The emotional bond created between the artisans and the Women’s Energy organization, goes beyond these statuettes. They represent the value of what is made by hand with quality, respect for equality, and favoring the development of communities through work and inclusion.

“To give us the opportunity to participate in a proposal, and in this case to have won it, shows that Enel is concerned about generating opportunities for people”

Today, after 10 years, the award has renewed its image thanks to a group of craftswomen who, with dedication and affection, accomplished providing something unique to each one of the awardees.