Don Alejandro Lozada of Barrio Montones, Las Piedras • Artesan of Puerto Rico

Don Alejandro Lozada wrapping our hammock. A genuine Puerto Rican hammock, most are without the tassels.

Don Alejandro has been an artisan since he was 8 years old, as was his father before him. He is best known for his cotton woven hammocks which are a true craft of Puerto Rico. He lives in the hills above Las Piedras. You will also find him at many of the artisan fairs, selling his hammocks, baskets and guiros.

It is said the Taino Indians were the inventors of the hammock and the name, 'hamaca' is a Taino word. They are made of cotton, some of which is dyed bright colors. You cannot compare the comfort and beauty of a real Puerto Rican Hammock with the imported cloth variety sold in the shops and on the sides of the road. Considerably more expensive, the genuine cotton woven hammock is well worth the price.

The basket shown below is made from a local vine that Don Alejandro periodically gathers in the 'woods' near him. He must first strip the green off, then dry the vine to prepare it. When he is ready to weave the baskets ( which he weaves in a variety of shapes) he first soaks the prepared vine to make it supple. The baskets last for many, many years. Don Alejandro cautions that the vine must be picked at the full moon, because if picked at the time of the new moon it will be susceptible to termite invasion.

The gourds are musical instruments ( güirros) which make up an integral part of local music.

Directions to get to his house and workshop: Get off of Highway #52 at the first Las Piedras exit coming from Caguas and turn south. ( Burger King etc, shopping mall is there) going south towards San Lorenzo you make a left turn onto #917 and go up and up the hills. The first school you pass on the left is called 'Medina' but you continue up to a second, larger school with a large basketball court, at which, you turn right. After a bit you will see a fork in the road, stay left, down the dip and then, when it starts up again, Don Alejandros house is a white house, the first on the right.

Call first! He is not always there. Tel. 787-733-1240 but he does NOT speak English. Far easier would be to buy one of his ( or other hammock makers) hammocks at an artisans fair. The smallest hammocks start at $50. and a large double would be around $150. The basket shown below was $60. and several small 'doble bun' shaped baskets were $20. each.

Don Alejandro with a basket and musical gourds in the background. An exceptionally large 'güirro'.
Alejandro with a print featuring himself and his 'artesania'.

visiting  Don Alejandro in Las Piedras puerto rico dominoes game

John with Don Alejandro • We interrupted the dominoes game on the front porch. Everyone was very nice.