Rag Rugs, Placemats, Table runners, and Bags

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Announcement    The women of El Ocotal Weavers address the poverty of their small Nicaraguan village by handweaving beautiful rugs, bags and tableware.


Last updated on Jun 14, 2021

The women of El Ocotal Weavers address the poverty of their small Nicaraguan village by handweaving beautiful rugs, bags and tableware.


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El Ocotal Weavers

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El Ocotal Weavers


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About ElOcotalWeavers

Sales 810
On Etsy since 2012
Video summary: The story behind the 2011 construction of the weaver's workshop

Social Entrepreneurship Improving Lives in Rural Nicaragua

El Ocotal Weavers is a collective of women who live and work in the small village of El Ocotal, in the mountains above Matagalpa, Nicaragua, one of the poorest regions in the Western Hemisphere. Households in El Ocotal primarily rely on subsistence farming for their livelihood and live off of an average .70 USD per person per day, which is significantly below the World Banks poverty line of 1.90 USD per person per day. Learning to weave and working together as a collective has allowed the women to gain a technical skill, business management experience, a sense of self-determination, and ability to contribute to their family’s basic needs and their children’s education.

El Ocotal Weavers/Nica Tejidos (as it is known in Nicaragua) was co-founded in 2009 by Ivy Blackmore, who was serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Ocotal, and Ivy’s mother, Carol Blackmore, who is a professional weaver and artist. There was no weaving tradition in El Ocotal, so Ivy and Carol started by teaching basic weaving techniques on a loom Carol brought from the United States. The loom was reassembled in Ivy’s living room with the help of the weaver’s excited and curious children. The first rugs were used locally as saddle blankets and bedding but eventually, we were able to offer rugs for sale.

Since the start of the project in 2009 we have delivered three more looms, helped the women improve their technique, sense of color and business skills, and, in one of the biggest achievements so far, the weavers and their families built their own workshop with the help of a grant and the construction expertise of Carol’s partner.

One of the most significant uses of money made from weaving has been paying for education. Several of the women wove with the assistance of daughters who earned enough to pay for high school and college. One daughter is now a teacher, one is a nurse, and several have degrees in accouting/business management. This would not have been possible without the sales of their handwoven products.

In addition, there is less financial stress and greater equality in the weaver’s households thanks to the more stable source of income from product sales. We have seen a noticeable increase in respect husbands have for the weavers work and a corresponding decrease in the amount of cultural machismo, which is typically very prevalent in Nicaraguan society.

We are committed to the continued growth and development of this project. Your purchase helps to move us forward. Thanks!

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Last updated on May 11, 2022

Frequently asked questions

Custom and personalized orders

We are currently not accepting custom orders due to COVID 19 related supply chain challenges


The weavers use a cotton warp and recycled cloth. They typically source their cloth from used clothing stores in the city of Matagalpa. Because they use recycled cloth, their products include a range of natural and synthetic fibers. All cloth is hand washed before use.

Care instructions

All El Ocotal Weavers products are machine washable! For best results machine wash cold and hang dry. You can also put them in the dryer on low, remove when still damp, lay flat, and press with your feet to remove bumps or creases. Because of the need to fold the products for shipping they may have minor creases when you remove them from the package. If this is the case, moisten the crease with water, using a spray bottle works best. For rugs, lay them on the floor and use your feet (wearing a pair of clean shoes works best) to flatten the crease. For placemats and table runners, place them on a flat surface and put a heavy object, such as a large book, on the crease and remove after several hours.

Seller details

ElOcotalWeavers is considered a professional seller (known as a trader) in the EU. What's this?