The Road to Reclaiming an Ancient Paracas Textile Technique

Ercil Howard-WrothUncategorized

An amazing exhibit of work by the Andean weavers of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) was recently on display (May 3-June 30) at the Museo Inka in Cusco, Peru. The exhibit, “Reclaiming Ancient Paracas: The Struggle to Recover a Textile Technique” (sponsored by Andean Textile Arts), showcased pieces the weavers created using the pre-Colombian Paracas and Nasca tubular cross-knit looping technique. Recovering textile practices of one’s ancestors takes time and dedication. The exhibit originated nearly three years ago when 20 Andean weavers from CTTC-associated weaving communities attended a workshop at the 2017 Tinkuy conference (also sponsored by ATA). In a unique union of academic and indigenous descendants of the Nasca,  professors Soledad Hoces de la Guardia and … Read More

Cochineal: A Simple Bug on a Cactus Pad

Ercil Howard-WrothUncategorized

The indigenous Mixtec people of Mexico tell the story of two brothers, gods in the land of the “cloud men,” who raged in mortal conflict over fields of nopal cacti. Their blood fell upon the fields, splattering the pads of the nopal and giving future generations an “ink that would circulate through their very veins.” Thus, cochineal was born in the Mixtec pantheon of the gods. Used in ancient times as paint, a cosmetic, and eventually textile dye, cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) is a tiny scale parasitic insect that originated in the Andean regions of what is now Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia. It migrated via coastal trade routes north into Mexico some 2,200 years ago. Its use as a textile dye … Read More