WORLD CRAFTS COUNCIL
(WCC AISBL) INTERNATIONAL
The town of Chimbarongo is located in the central region of Chile, it's one of the 33 communes of the Libertador Bernardo O'higgins region.
At a national level, Chimbarongo is known for the work performed in vegetal fiber, commonly known as wicker, by its craftspeople. In the urban area is common to see both craftsmen and craftswomen hauling their products to be sold in markets, along with wicker bundles that will later be turned into crafts items. Baskets, furniture, ornaments and household implements are among the range of items crafted by these people.
The fiber widely used to manufacture furniture and baskets is known as "MIMBRE" (Spanish word for Wicker). In Chile this fiber comes from a tree known as Salix Viminalis, which is believed to have been introduced in the country during the Spanish colonisation. The largest plantation of this specie can be found in Chimbarongo. The stock is supplied mainly by small farmers, whom in some cases are also craftspeople. In the last years, as wicker has become a non-traditional export product, its plantations have a commercial purpose and also have grown in size.
In Chimbarongo there are many people whose livelihood depends on wicker. Most of them work individually in their workshops inside their houses. There are no official records concerning the number of craftspeople living in the area, however, according to the craftspeople themselves, approximately 200 craftspeople would be currently living in the urban area, a small number of them is member of a union or other forms of association. Currently, the association Pasión de Artesanos (legally established) and the Group of Craftsmen and Craftswomen of Chimbarongo (not legally established) make up the associated craftspeople, who promote the heritage value of their own work.