Coca is not cocaine. To equate the coca leaf with the raw alkaloid cocaine is as misguided as suggesting that the delicious flesh of a peach is equivalent to the hydrogen cyanide found in every peach pit. Yet, for nearly a century, this has been precisely the legal and political position of nations and international organizations throughout the world. Join renowned cultural anthropologist and ethnobotanist Wade Davis as he delves into the cultural suppression surrounding the coca leaf. Learn more about this mild and benign stimulant that has been revered and consumed by the Indigenous peoples of the Andes for nearly 8,000 years. And gain a better understanding of why policies to eradicate coca essentially amount to cultural genocide. The … Read More
ATA 2020 Annual Report Now Available
The year 2020 was like no other, for the ATA community and the world at large. It tested our resilience, our kindness, and our creativity. In our 2020 ATA Annual Report, just released, we reflect on the challenges we faced during the past year, including the need to sustain the Andean weavers we support as they struggled through the pandemic. Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to take on those challenges head on: Our annual donations increased 23.5%, despite the cancellation of our textile tours to Peru and Bolivia—typically our largest source of donations. We funded 15 grants benefitting 378 adult weavers and 272 young weavers. We kept Andean textile revitalization programs running, while also preserving income for … Read More
Andean Textile Talks Bring the Andes to You
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 … Read More
Center for Traditional Textiles Launches New Online Store
This fall, the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) opened an online store, bringing the weaving of Peru’s Sacred Valley direct to the world! For the first time, shoppers anywhere can browse CTTC products—from bags and backpacks to clothing, household textiles, toys, and jewelry—and order online. The new store is a significant step for the communities of CTTC and a great (if too tempting) opportunity for everyone who loves Andean textiles. Until now, the CTTC website displayed photos of some types of products and invited visitors to contact the center to arrange for purchase. Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, CTTC director, knew that the website needed a full e-commerce capability, but a busy schedule of teaching, travel, and organizational development had … Read More
What’s Up in the Andes?
While the coronavirus has prevented us from hosting our tours to Peru and Bolivia this year, we’ve been keeping up on developments in the Sacred Valley with reports from Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, director and founder of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) and from our tour leader, Raul Callañaupa. The pandemic has brought great hardship to the weaving communities, as it has everywhere. According to Nilda, the biggest problem has been a lack of food. Some households have doubled or tripled in size, as family members laid off from jobs in the cities and college students returned home to their villages. The families were not prepared with enough food for everyone, and without tourism and the income it … Read More
2020: A Tale of Two Communities
To paraphase Charles Dickens, “It was the worst of times, it was the best of people.” This year has brought challenges that never figured into most of our worst-case scenarios. Pandemic, lock-downs, and, for some, loss of contact, financial security, or loved ones. Yet, through it all, the ATA community has remained steadfast in its commitment to support Andean weavers in preserving their textile traditions and their sustainable way of life. And the Andean communities, in turn, have been brave and creative in helping themselves to weather this storm. Last spring, as the coronavirus took hold worldwide, tourism shut down and Peruvians were told to isolate at home. The quarantine cut off income for the weavers and sales that support the … Read More
Fundraising Auction A Huge Success!
Special thanks to all of you who participated in our summer fundraising auction, A Bid for the Future, a benefit for the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC). By the time the auction closed on September 2, you and other ATA supporters had purchased sixty-three beautiful handmade Andean textiles, contributed to 270 phone cards, and with your additional donations helped us raise a total of $26,362. That’s more than 131% of our original $20,000 fundraising goal! Your purchases and donations are vital to the weaving communities around the Sacred Valley of Peru, now more than ever. In the last few weeks, we learned that the coronavirus epidemic has reached the mountain villages, and some communities are facing not only infection and loss … Read More
ATA Website is New and Improved!
Welcome to the shiny, new ATA website! Our new layout is designed to make it easier to learn about ATA-sponsored programs and to see our latest blog posts, tours, news, and events, plus lots of new photos for your enjoyment. To the right of the navigation buttons, you’ll also find translation buttons – the tiny flags – so you can view content in English or Spanish. (Yes, that is a Mexican flag. Sadly, the translation software doesn’t currently offer the flags of any Andean nations for the button.) The other good news is that the underlying web platform is now WordPress. This means even more of your donations can go into supporting Andean textile communities rather than into operating costs. The cost of our donor management software … Read More
Peruvian Textiles in a Box: Textiles and Traditions of the Peruvian Highland Weavers
You can meet the weavers, dyers, knitters, and spinners of the Peruvian Highlands without leaving home. The ATA educational program “Peruvian Textiles in a Box: Textiles and Traditions of the Peruvian Highland Weavers” presents the arts and artisan members of the Center for the Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) through a 25-minute documentary video, Peruvian Weaving Revival by Janet Darrow, and five presentation boards of twenty actual samples of unique textile techniques the artisan’s work. Now in its second year, this self-contained program has been traveling the U.S. to fiber guilds or other groups who want an introduction to and education about Peruvian indigenous textiles and the skilled artisans who make them. If you’re interested in renting this fascinating and … Read More
Reviving the Paracas and Nazca Looping Technique
During Tinkuy 2017, twenty weavers from the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) participated in a workshop on the Paracas and Nazca looping technique with two professors from Chile, Soledad Hoces de la Guardia and Ana María Rojas. In order to encourage the study of this pre-Colombian textile technique, looping became the theme for the CTTC annual competition this year. In a scant five months, two weavers who participated in the Tinkuy class taught workshops to a few members from each of the ten communities, who then returned to their communities to teach what they had learned. A competition was set among the communities with categories for adult weavers and young weavers. The external judging took place on August 15 … Read More