Young Weavers, Caretakers of the Future

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

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, … Read More

The Trip That Keeps On Giving

Andean Textile ArtsTravel Tours

There is, of course, no shortage of travel options in many of our lives.  From mini-getaways to grand tours in far-off continents, the choices of when and where to go are staggering.  But rather than ask where or when, what if we asked why?  Why should we go a certain place?  In fact, why travel at all? For some of us, the reason to travel is to experience a different culture, a different way of life, a different slice of this globe we live on.  And what if we could not only experience it as a tourist, but could engage on a personal level with the people and places we are visiting?  That’s the kind of connection the participants on … Read More

Tinkuy – Third Time Even More Charmed

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

It’s an interesting word, Tinkuy. While it means a “coming together” in Quechua, it means more than that. It means (among other untranslatable things) coming together like rushing streams converging in foaming eddies to create a bigger river. There’s a lot of energy implied in the word. The first Tinkuy, in 2010, was a whirlwind of energy. The decision to hold the event was made in March amidst one of the most violent rainy seasons the Cusco District had experienced in many years. The railroad to Machu Picchu was washed out. Bridges were washed out. People perished. But CTTC? They said, “Let’s do it!” And so they did, a scant seven months later. And it was splendid. The event was … Read More

“We women have dreams . . . ”

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, Director of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, and her sister, master weaver Adela Callañaupa, traveled from the Andes to San Francisco to attend the TEDWomen conference in late October 2016. Sponsored by the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise (AAE), Nilda spoke at the TEDWomen’s Global Showcase as one of three global artisan speakers.   The Aspen Institute started in a small way in 1949, but today is a major player in a number of arenas, including supporting and hosting The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise. Peggy Clark, Director of the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise and Vice President of  Aspen Global Health and Development, worked with TEDWomen to bring twelve artisans to TED. The Alliance, its partners, and members “envision a … Read More

“There Will Always Be a Hunger for Beauty”

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

These were the words of Secretary of State John Kerry, addressing the Artisan Enterprise: The New Startup Economy Forum at the State Department on September 10. Hilda Roque Perez and Antonia Callañaupa Alvarez traveled to Washington D.C. to represent The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) at the forum. The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, hosted by the Aspen Institute, is a collaborative effort of more than 60 members working together to promote the full potential of artisan enterprise around the world. CTTC is fortunate to be a member. Hilda reflects, “it was important to know and understand that the economic might of the artisan sector is valued at 32 billion dollars and this economic impact is not always recognized, … Read More

On the Road with CTTC

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

June and July were busy, busy travel months for CTTC, with a major presence at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC, followed by the Santa Fe Folk Art Market. IN THE NATION’S CAPITAL The Smithsonian event, Peru Pachamama, focused solely on Peru this year, unlike previous years in which several countries were featured. The extreme biodiversity of Peru provided opportunities to feature highland, jungle, and coastal cultures. As reported by ATA board member Jan Gibson, CTTC was represented by Nilda and Angel Callañaupa along with Timoteo, Damian, Rosita, Delia, Epephenia, Leandra, and Quintina from member villages. Their activities were by no means confined to weaving: they were also dyeing, cooking, dancing, telling stories, presenting at discussions, … Read More

The First Gathering of Young Weavers

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) has a well-guarded secret. We work with nine amazing groups of young weavers from nine of our ten communities. For the past several years these groups of children and young adults have gathered in their communities’ weaving centers every Saturday to learn from their elders and carry on weaving traditions that could have been lost forever between the cracks of time. This year the CTTC began to develop more programs and opportunities for the Young Weavers Groups (formerly called Jakima Clubs). On Saturday, June 6th, we held the First Gathering of Young Weavers, a program we hope to make a bi-annual event. At 8:00 in the morning 195 young people and their adult … Read More

All in a Day’s Journey to Huacatinco Village

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

Sometimes it pays to take the road less traveled. Such is the case when it’s the only road to the village of Huacatinco in the Ocongate region of the Cusco highlands of Peru. In February, ATA board members Betty Doerr, Jan Gibson, and Marilyn Murphy, along with CTTC director Nilda Callañaupa, and her husband Paulino, traveled to the most remote of the CTTC artisan communities. Huacatinco joined CTTC in 2013. This marked the first time ATA board members would see the newly-built community center made possible through a generous donation from Patricia Zilinski, in memory of her mother, Ann DeKam. The mighty Ausangate mountain frames the landscape. Light-colored dots in the distance become sheep and alpacas upon closer inspection. The … Read More

Mojonamiento in Chinchero, March 2015: The Community of Ocotuan

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

Carnaval is a very important time of year in Chinchero, as in many areas in the Cusco region. During Carnaval there are numerous activities in which the population participates; one of these is Mojonamiento. It’s a bit past 5 am and the mayors, or varayoc, are beautifully dressed in their red ponchos, carrying their ceremonial rods. The resonant sound of their conch shells, or pututos, announces the beginning once again of mojonamiento. During this festivity people in each district join together with their mayor in an ancient ritual that has the objective of renewing and upholding the boundaries that separate one community from another. The activities begin in Chinchero’s main plaza with the waylacas, who play an integral part in the festivity. Surprisingly, waylacas are men who are dressed … Read More

A Decade of Difference

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

Andean Textile Arts joined Jim Kane of Cultural Xplorers, a leader in the field of sutstainable travel, in sponsoring this year’s Weaver Awards. Jim co-founded the program with Nilda in 2005. Jim attended the judging and presentation of awards in Cusco, and shares these thoughts and images: In the globalized, digitized world where I spend much of my time, ten years is an eternity. After all, ten years ago Facebook was an unknown start-up and Twitter didn’t even exist. Looking around me at the dozens of gorgeously attired weavers animatedly chatting in Chinchero, I kept trying to wrap my mind around a single number: 10. These Andean artists had traveled from ten rural communities as far as ten hours away … Read More