Book Review: Turn Right at Machu Picchu

Bob MillerBook Reviews

For much of my life, I have loved tramping around in remote places in the American Southwest. Finding blank spots on the map, I’ve enjoyed exploring them, discovering magical secrets few others know about, based on whispered rumors or perhaps just telltale bits of interesting topography on USGS maps. Or, as often happens these days, I imagine the adventures my creaking joints and busy calendar no longer so enthusiastically sign up for. In Turn Right at Machu Picchu, author Mark Adams delivers a delightful itinerary for the imagination of the “Gee, I wish I could (still!) do that” would-be adventurer. Adams relates his real-life experiences as an unlikely explorer on his own ill-advised “bucket list” adventure trekking the Andean highlands. Retracing the path … Read More

Acopia Young Weavers: Bringing Weaving Traditions Back to Life

Deb Carpenter-BeckBehind the Scenes

Not long ago the tradition of weaving was disappearing in Acopia, a small community located on the shores of Acopia Lago, eighty-seven miles south of Cusco, Peru. Only the older women of this lake-side village were weaving, and their traditional techniques and designs were quickly dying with them. All of that has changed in recent years thanks to the efforts of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) and their ATA-supported Young Weavers program. Working with Acopia elders, CTTC staff encouraged them to pass on their weaving knowledge to the youth of their village—young men and women such as Paola Medina Condori Nina and her friend Rocío Gonzales. “I heard the call from a speaker, ‘People who want to … Read More

Wisdom, Grace, and Intrepid Adventurers—A Thank You to Jannes Gibson and Betty Doerr

Sandi CardilloMeet Our Board

This spring the Andean Textile Arts (ATA) board said goodbye and thank you to two amazing women. Jannes (Jan) Gibson and Betty Doerr stepped down from their formal positions on the board, but their presence remains. Jan and Betty were truly pathfinders. Women of a certain grace and wisdom. Women who made a difference in the lives of so many.  In 2020, ATA president Marilyn Murphy asked that I take on a project of working with Jan and Betty to glean their knowledge of Andean Textile Arts’ history. We loosely called it the “memories project.” The intent was to capture the stories of ATA’s early work with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) in Peru. The Margaret Mead … Read More

Sallac Young Weavers Interweave Textile Traditions into Their Lives

Deb Carpenter-BeckBehind the Scenes

This is the third in a series of blog posts based on interviews with young people throughout the Peruvian highlands who are reviving their traditional textiles through the Young Weavers program of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC), an important effort your ATA donations help support.  Hermelinda Espinoza Mamami and Ana Maria Huamán Qori wear the dress of their ancestors as they talk about their weaving and its importance in their lives. Their fringed monteras (hats), juvunas (short jackets), and polleras (wide black skirts) with brightly colored borders reflect their people’s past and showcase the extraordinary local artistry these two young women want to carry into the future. “Years ago we weren’t remembering the old dress,” Ana Maria … Read More

A Visit to Peru

Marcia MatthieuTravel Tours

Editor’s note: ATA is hoping to resume tours, like the one described here by Marcia, in 2022. We are working closely with our tour partners in Peru to access the COVID situation and how and when we can conduct ATA tours safely. If you are on the waiting list for tours, we’ll be sending you a questionnaire about potential safety measures. If you are interested in a future tour, contact Pam Art at pam.art@icloud.com Three years later, my friends and I are still talking about our Andean Textile Arts (ATA) tour of Peru. In ten short days, our group was exposed to Peruvian culture as expressed in the spinning, weaving, and other fiber arts, as well as the natural and … Read More

The Art of Four-Selvaged Cloth

Bob MillerHow-To

The recent ATA TextileTalk on “The Andean Textile Tradition of Four-Selvaged Cloth” by Elena Phipps, PhD, highlights one of the amazing technical features of Andean woven textiles, something that casual textile lovers who are not weavers themselves often overlook. Many of the finest traditional Andean textiles are woven to completion on all four edges, producing a finished textile which has no cut edges—it is simply untied from the loom. Weavers in the Andean highlands have been creating beautiful, uncut, four-selvage textiles for thousands of years. Such uncut textiles have a deep connection to the worldview and spirituality of Andean and other indigenous cultures of the Americas. This amazing weaving technique, virtually unknown in cultures beyond the Americas, is possible with traditional Andean looms … Read More

Indigenous Connections: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Stefanie BerganiniIndigenous Connections

In academic circles, the knowledge, skills, and forms of technology that indigenous people have evolved in relationship to their environments are often known as “traditional ecological knowledge,” or TEK. These systems of knowledge are deeply related to place, and often involve a holistic understanding of people as part of, or interdependent with, the natural world, rather than having dominion over it. Though practices vary from place to place and people to people, traditional ecological knowledge is central to the lives and cultures of indigenous peoples and is often handed down over generations through everyday practices, as well as stories, folklore, songs, and other traditions. In the United States, especially if you live in the increasingly fire-ravaged western part of the … Read More

2021 Bid for the Future Funds to Help Andean Weavers Get COVID Vaccinations

Anita OsterhaugATA Programs

Thanks to everyone who participated in our 2021 fundraising auction, A Bid for the Future. Thanks to all of you, we raised more than $26,000 to benefit the weavers of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC). Together, you donated 387 phone cards to help the children of the ten CTTC communities continue to attend school remotely, and 55 kilos of cochineal to help the weavers afford to dye yarn in all the beautiful reds and purples they and we love. (Special thanks to the Natural Dye Study Group of the Eugene Weavers Guild, who got together to purchase cochineal for their fellow artisans in Peru.) The rest of the auction proceeds, including over $1,500 in direct donations, will … Read More

The Fibershed Movement: Looking Back To Move Forward

Cindy WeinsteinBehind the Scenes

Editors Note: If you’re hearing the term “fibershed” in textile conversations, you’re not alone. A growing number of farmers, fashion activists, and textile makers are talking about and joining the call to build a new, more environmentally friendly textile economy through what they call “fibersheds.” In this blog, Cindy Weinstein, ATA community member and owner of Wild Moon Fiber Arts Center, shares her thoughts on this relatively recent textile movement. Sometimes moving forward can look a lot like moving backwards. We do it all the time in small ways that we don’t even notice: swatches, dye sampling, weaving drafts, twist samples, and so on. Each time we work towards our vision and realize that we haven’t reached our goal, we … Read More

Book Review: Death in the Andes

Bob MillerBook Reviews

Death in the Andes, written by celebrated Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, is on its surface a “whodunit,” set in the dark period when the Shining Path revolutionary terrorists (Sendero Luminoso terrucos) were conducting their campaign of terror in the remote mountain communities of the Peruvian highlands. One more horror in a place rife with rumors of flesh-harvesting pishtacos (evil monster-like men) and with hardship, suspicion, and mistrust—where even the landscape itself is out to destroy those who dare to trespass. Corporal Litumo and his adjunct Tomás Carreño are assigned to the dusty mining and road-building camp of Naccos, charged with discovering the common fate of three missing men. Little ties these three victims together: one was a nearby town … Read More