Volunteer Profile: Karen Sprenger

Marilyn MurphyMeet Our Volunteers

Textile tours of all kinds can make a weaver out of you. It certainly did for Andean Textile Arts (ATA) volunteer, Karen Sprenger. In the mid-80s, Karen dabbled with weaving rag rugs on an old two-harness floor loom (this type of loom is still widely used in many indigenous communities). However, a floor loom is anything but portable. So while traveling on a few textile-related tours to Central and South America, she became intrigued with the backstrap loom. The simplicity of the loom was certainly similar to her floor loom, but it’s portability was a draw and one came home with her. Not many U.S. weavers in her area of Kansas City were studying backstrap weaving in the years following … Read More

Young Weavers Spend a Day Celebrating Their Cultural Heritage

Marilyn MurphyUncategorized

Imagine an entire day where you could spin, weave, dance, sing, and play—all devoted to sharing your traditions and bonding with other communities. That’s exactly what 225 young weavers from the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) did this past August. Last year, a few young leaders from each of CTTC’s ten weaving communities came together to plan their first official cultural gathering. The young weavers enthusiastically wanted this event and were ready to lead the charge. So why not? With the assistance of CTTC’s education department and funding from an Andean Textile Arts (ATA) grant, they made it happen. Their day started early as most traveled hours to the town of Pisac, the designated location for the event. … Read More

How ATA Supports the Revitalization of Textile Techniques

Marilyn MurphyUncategorized

Can you imagine recreating a textile technique of the Nazca people who lived on the southern coast of Peru from 100 BC to AD 200? I recently saw an example of this technique in a detailed border fragment at the Art Institute of Chicago exhibit “Super/Natural: Textiles of the Andes.” The stitch used to make the three-dimensional plant and animal forms (shown in the picture above) is a complex looping and cross-knit looping technique. There is an ATA link to this pre-Columbian technique. For the past two years, your donations have been supporting weavers at the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) in revitalizing this cross-stitch looping. They have spent hundreds of hours bent over tiny needles, working with … Read More