Andean Textile Talks Bring the Andes to You

Andean Textile ArtsATA Programs

We can’t always visit the Andes, especially now with COVID restrictions limiting international travel. But that doesn’t mean we can’t experience the people, traditions, and textiles of the Andes virtually. And that’s exactly what our new Andean Textile Talks series offers you—a chance to immerse yourself in the history, beauty, and techniques of one of the world’s oldest textile cultures, all from the comfort of your home.

Many of you joined us on February 9 for our first Andean Textile Talk, featuring award-winning video maker Kathy Brew and her film Following the Thread. In fact, you could say, we had a virtual packed house. Her beautifully crafted film took us to several villages in the Peruvian highlands to learn about their special celebrations and ceremonies, rituals with llamas and sheep, natural dyeing processes, weaving and knitting traditions, and much more. 

Weavers in Kathy’s film are all connected to the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC), which has been instrumental in the survival of Cusqueñan textiles. And we were fortunate to have CTTC director Nilda Callañaupa join us for the presentation and the informative question and answer period after the film.

If you missed out on this first Andean Textile Talk, or our interested in attending another, we have plenty more in store for you this year. Check them out:

Renewing Value in Southern Bolivia’s Andean Textiles, Tuesday, April 13, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Registration currently open

Known for their striking textiles with surreal designs of underworld spirits and animals, southern Bolivia’s indigenous people were on the verge of losing their textile traditions. In this Textile Talk, Bolivian expert Kevin Healy introduces us to Antropologos del Surandino (ASUR), a cultural foundation whose pioneering efforts are revitalizing southern Bolivia’s textile heritage. 

Peruvian Doubleweave: Past, Present, and Future, Tuesday, June 8, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Registration opens May 10

Doubleweave teacher and author Jennifer Moore shares her personal story of being drawn to Peru because of its doubleweave heritage, and how this sophisticated weaving technique—which died out in Peru with the arrival of the Spanish in fifteenth century—has once again become a vibrant form of expression for many Peruvian weavers. 

Andean Knitting from Bolivia and Peru, Tuesday, August 10, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Registration opens July 12

Textile expert Cynthia LeCount takes us on a whirlwind tour of the latest fancy festival knitting and striking hats from the Andean highlands. See how Andean knitters go beyond typical colors and motifs—from rapacious multi-colored monsters to brightly striped dancing devils—while remaining true to traditional techniques and forms.

The Andean Textile Tradition of Four-Selvedged Cloth, Tuesday, October 12, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Registration opens September 13

Amongst the world’s weaving traditions, a textile with four complete, uncut woven edges—selvedges—is a rare thing. And yet, it has been the tradition in the Andes for thousands of years. Elena Phipps, who studies the history of textile materials and techniques in cultural contexts, examines this special method of weaving.

Pilgrimage to the Sacred Mountains of Apu Ausangate, Peru and Mount Kailash, Tibet, Tuesday, December 14, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Registration opens November 15

Cultural and trekking guide Andrea Heckman takes us first to the annual Qoyllur Rit’i pilgrimage where the Quechuan people of Peru pay homage to Apu Ausangate. She’ll also discuss the textiles and their important relationship to this mountain spirit of Cusco. Then it’s off to Mount Kailash, where Tibetans walk the 32-mile pilgrimage route on a spiritual journey of a lifetime.

For more details about each of these presentations, visit our Andean Textile Talks web page.


Top photo: Backstrap weavers from the village of Chahuaytire, Peru.