Argelida Donisabe is in indigenous Wounaan weaver from Panama. She lives in Maje, a village in the Darien Rainforest, and also lives part time in a small community on the outskirts of Panama City where many other Wounaan have created a village. Argelida has been weaving for over 35 years.
Argelida started weaving after visiting a friend who was a weaver, she thought they were beautiful and decided to learn how to weave from her friend. Since learning she has taught her three sisters to also weave baskets. Women in the community often are encouraged to learn to weave by family members, or other relatives or friends.
While many weavers like to create in a group setting, Argelida prefers to work alone, and remarks on how it helps her concentrate on her weaving. She purchases the materials and dyes separately, then dyes her shredded palms herself. Many weavers will collect and prepare the materials themselves, in a larger group setting, but Argelida prefers her solitude. In the beginning she concentrated on geometric designs, as many weavers do, then developed her signature grasshopper floral designs. She is the only weaver we know of with the grasshopper design in her florals, and says she wants buyers to feel happy when they see her baskets.
The money she makes helps to support her family and allows the two households with access to higher education.