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Dominican pellizas

Dominican pellizas

On the Duarte highway, that goes north of the island, getting through the heart of Cibao, the central region of the country, we find in the landscape on both sides of this road, colorful carpets sold in makeshift stalls. Called "pellizas" which can be found almost at the entrance to the community of Piedra Blanca at the municipality of Bonao, provoke attention and sometimes it is mandatory to take some pictures, know how they are made off and why not to buy some.

The manufacture and sale of traditional carpets made with scraps and sack has become a hallmark of this area and a source of income for their families. The dimensions, the material used and the shape of the strips affect the final cost. Fabric can be bought in yards in stores or from scraps cheaply in factories, while the strips can be cut into rectangular or circular edges. This last method gives to the carpets an outcome related to rose petals.

Spread on wooden racks, pellizas draw the attention of travelers for its beautiful and varied shades: orange, apple green, blood red, fuchsia pink, light brown, cream, white, black... An explosion of colors that is part of a renewal that experience this tradition for some years now and also includes fabrics, sizes and designs which have evolved reaching a great diversification, giving new life to this piece.

A large tapestry, i.e. three sacks, can take two or three days to a beginner, but on expert hands the work of preparing the bag can be concluded in less time, seal the edges with a flame, cut the strips and sew them one by one in the bag.

Design pellizas is not something that can be learned in a workshop or a course. Many of the people that today are engaged in this work, and are hardly working along the road, have learned on their own, by watching others or their family.

Neighbors get together to acquire materials and design the pieces, which have become an important source of income locally. A craft pieces made entirely by hand, can costs between RD$600 and RD$ 1,900 depending on the size and design. Big international personalities have echoed this artisanship. In fact, interior designer Yovanny Bakker has used as an ornamental element.

The carpet, made from strips, unlike the past, when it were characterized by a mixture of unwise colors, almost bet on  monochrome and colorful hues and soft tissues. This has earned their entry into middle and upper class residences, and special events as a weddings ceremony.

Hotels and other public places, pellizas are also used as a mural. They have being relegated in the back seat of a car public transport, the floor beside the bed or at the saddle of a horse with presence in new social events scenarios, including the props of a photo studio and even on the set of a TV show.

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TEXT: Elena Crespo; IMAGES: Suresh