Over the last three years, the Young Weavers program has become the primary educational mission of the Center for Traditional Textiles. Program activities have included several gatherings, where young weavers from each of the ten CTTC communities met to learn traditions and techniques from each other, participate in textile classes, and forge lifelong friendships. ATA also funded textile classes for Young Weaver groups in each of the communities, and each group has a weekly gathering where young weavers learn from weaving mentors in their village.
The Young Weaver program was developed by Sarah Lyons, education coordinator for CTTC. A graduate of Williams College, Sarah started as a volunteer in 2014, continued her work funded by ATA grants over two years, and worked this year as a full-time CTTC hire. She and her colleague Tatiana Charalla Quintanilla co-chaired Tinkuy 2017.
Thanks to ATA contributors, young weavers from all ten of the CTTC weaving communities were able to attend this year’s Tinkuy. On Saturday of the conference, the children attended lectures and workshops and demonstrated their stunning textile skills in the open courtyard demo area. One of the most beautiful moments came in a small ceremony where the elders passed on their tools to the children, a symbol of love and trust in the young weavers as caretakers of the future.
Sarah will be leaving CTTC at the end of December. Already fluent in Spanish and English, she hopes to continue studying Quechua, and perhaps pursue advanced studies in pre-Columbian textiles. Her energy and creativity will be missed but we know the Young Weavers will carry forth with passion and pride.