Florida Folklife Program

Folk Heritage Awards Recipient: AIDA ETCHEGOYEN


AIDA ETCHEGOYEN, . Photo by Tina Bucuvalas.
AIDA ETCHEGOYENPhoto by Tina Bucuvalas

AIDA ETCHEGOYEN (1928 - ) - 2006 Florida Folk Heritage Award

Puerto Rican mundillo lacemaking originated in Spain. To create mundillo, women wind wooden bobbins with thread and manipulate them to follow a stenciled pattern design attached to a loom (mundillo) made of a cylindrical pillow set in wooden bolsters.

Aida Etchegoyen was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and grew up in San Juan. As a young girl, she learned to sew at school. By her fifteenth birthday she so accomplished that she created her first formal dress for her quinceanera party. Etchegoyen earned an associate degree in accounting and worked as an accountant assistant and assistant office manager until the arrival of her three children. After her children went to college, Etchegoyen took classes in different needlework arts, including crochet, soles de Naranjito (Naranjito’s sun), fagotting, and tatting, under a government program called Extension Agricola (Agricultural Extension). In 1978 she was elected Exemplary Mother of the Home Economic Club. That same year she started studying bobbin lace with Alba Arbona, and then took intermediate and advanced courses with Rosa Elena Egipciaco. From 1980 to1988, she taught lace making classes as a Craft Teacher for San Juan Municipality. With her late husband, she moved to Poinciana, Florida in 1988 to be close to their family.

Since coming to Florida, Etchegoyen has been teaching others and giving demonstrations and exhibitions of her work at Walt Disney World resort hotels, local festivals, the Florida Folk Festival, and other venues. She also lends her talents to events sponsored by Osceola County’s Association of Puerto Rican Culture, which gave her the Celestino Aviles Award in 1999. Etchegoyen is the matriarch of a close group of Puerto Rican lacemakers in the Orlando area. They hold monthly lacemaking sessions, often at her home. She also teaches several students how to make lace, and is revered by all for her excellent artistic skills and fine character.

Etchegoyen received the 2006 Florida Folk Heritage Award. She also served as a master artist in the Florida Folklife Apprenticeship Program from 2005-2006.