Human Flower Project

Nanduti Lace—Flower of Paraguay

In the hands of Guarani needleworkers, lace wheels of the Canary Islands turned into flowers.


Nanduti lace

Photo: Lace Fairy

Welcome to our visitors from Paraguay. Dry to the west, humid on the east, Paraguay possesses considerable botanical diversity, though as in so many places, deforestation is taking a toll on native plants and birds.

imageA lacemaker in Paraguay

Photo: Lace Fairy

“The forests of SE Brazil, NE Argentina and E Paraguay - known as Atlantic Interior Forest - bear the dubious distinction of at once being one of the most biodiverse yet most threatened ecosystems in the world.” Sixty years ago, 43% of the land was forest. “Today even the most conservative estimates suggest that no more than 12% of the original forest cover remains, and the general consensus is 5 to 8%. As a consequence, the remaining forests are one of the highest global conservation priorities.”

Located along the Tropic of Capricorn, Paraguay is home (for the moment) to some very rare and outrageous plants: take a peek at the calico flower, (Aristolochia littoralis).

We’re just as enthralled with another flower, perhaps more amazing because it’s not threatened by humans but woman-made: the delicate art of nanduti lace. These beauties are a traditional craft of Paraguay’s Guarani people. The forms and techniques were likely influenced by the Tenerife lacework of Canary Islanders who immigrated here, but to our eyes, wheel-like forms of the Old World have been turned into much more floral designs.

imageA recent example of nanduti lace

Photo: Merletti Lace

Look easy?  Check out this close up, then flex your fingers and rub your eyes. A base of thread “spokes” (or petals) has been set down, and the intricate designs woven across those radiating lines. The craftsmanship of the old pieces is dazzling, and the looser, less symmetrical contemporary laces (some of them with colored threads) are beautiful too.

“Nanduti,” we learn, means not flower but “web” in the Guarani language. Flowers, rather, are in the mind of the needleworker and the eye of the beholder.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/07 at 11:06 AM


Not only flowers, but also fruit. The multi colored example on the site features guava flowers in the center and strawberries around the outer edge,

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 10/31 at 07:55 PM

Speaking as someone who does needlework, this nanduti lace is very beautiful.  Where is it possible to purchase nanduti lace in the U.S. or how can I have it shipped here?

Thank you for your help.

Posted by K. Roehrich on 02/18 at 09:32 PM

Is there any place to purchase the Nanduti Weavings in the USA?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 04:37 PM

I am not aware of any place to buy it here. I also do needlework, and believe I could replicate some of the pieces that I own, based on watching the native women make them. But the detail is so incredibly time consuming that I have never attempted it.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 08:51 PM

The company I work for is working to provide Nanduti to the USA. We are a skincare company, but we are looking to purchase the Nanduti directly from a CO-OP of woman weavers in Paraguay for a fair price and sell them here in the States. We are doing this as a way to help the women of Paraguay.

The Nanduti is not available through us yet, but we are working diligently on importing them to make it available ASAP!

Posted by Andrew Robertson on 06/18 at 04:41 PM

If you’re interested in NANDUTY LACES from Paraguay, I have about

360 pieces, in different sizes, they’re beautiful and brand new.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/03 at 12:04 PM
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