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Blanca Padilla

Artisan Organization: Blanca Padilla

Country: Costa Rica

"I was born in 1967 in the south of El Guarco, Costa Rica. I work with cabuya, a fiber extracted from the agave plant.

"The cabuyera trade came to me through my grandfather, whose craft was handed down to him from generation to generation. From the time I was a child, I helped my parents with this craft, which was our family's sustenance for many years.

"My father processed the cabuya fiber and sold it to a business but, unfortunately, this company shut down and we lost our main source of income. We had to look for other ways to earn a living.

"My mother was always quite skilled in handicrafts — she could transform anything into a work of art. Thanks to her we began to create decorative items of cabuya fiber that we could sell. With her, I discovered my creative skills and they are a gift from God. I was so afraid people wouldn't like my first but, little by little, I gained confidence in myself and in what I could do.

"Thanks to my father, I learned to plant, harvest and prepare the cabuya fiber, and I was able to teach my husband, who helps me prepare the material. My father and mother were my two great teachers, and I owe them everything I am today. Thanks to this art that they taught me, I can work and bring home an income without having to neglect my children, who are my greatest source of inspiration.

"Today I continue with this tradition — telling a story, rescuing a legacy, and leaving in each design a bit of the history, struggle and love for what I do.

"My biggest dream is to be able to use this art. I want to teach and offer work to people in my community, so that we can develop our skills and achieve a better income. We hope to make this craft known in many parts of the world.

"For me, it's an honor to show you a little of Costa Rica, a bit of myself, and a family legacy that I want to preserve and teach to my children.""