Las Tradiciones Viven: The Next Generation of Weavers

Linda LigonUncategorized

One of the biggest concerns, for those of us who love and work with indigenous textiles from around the world, is “Who will carry on the traditions?” Young people once learned from their elders, stayed in their home villages, got a sixth-grade education at most, married young, and spun and wove for the rest of their lives for subsistence wages. Today they carry cell phones to connect to the outside world and aspire to go to high school or university. The allure of a profession in the city is powerful. To seek an easier, more forward-looking life should be their right. But then what about those exquisite traditional textiles, the ones that require weeks or months of skilled work for … Read More

Peruvian Textiles in a Box: Textiles and Traditions of the Peruvian Highland Weavers

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

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

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

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

2018 Andean Arts Textile Tour

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

2018 Andean Arts Textile TourOctober 22- November 2 For many people, traveling to Peru and experiencing Machu Picchu is on their “bucket list.”  For those of us who celebrate artisan textiles, that dream may include the opportunity to visit some highland villages, meet the weavers in person, and see their hands at work on the patterns that have been passed down for generations. And what if you could try your own hands at spinning, backstrap weaving, or natural dyeing?  Even better, what if you could do all that accompanied by internationally recognized Quechua master weaver Nilda Callanaupa? That dream would be almost too good to come true!  Almost. The good news is that we have arranged all those experiences for … Read More

Revitalizing Weaving in the Andes

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

The mission of Andean Textile Arts (ATA) is to support the people and communities of the Andes in their efforts to preserve and revitalize their textile traditions. In support of that mission, ATA has been working closely with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) for just over twenty years. During those formative years, we have had two major areas of focus: Identifying the highland communities where textile traditions were almost extinct and reviving techniques such as discontinuous warp (ticlla) in Pitumarca or tie-dyed warp (watay) in Sallac, and establishing the Center in Cusco, with its rich resources: a museum, training center, store, and offices. With a strong foundation in place to preserve the weaving techniques, we are thinking … Read More

Looking for a few good guilds to kick off ATA’s “Sponsor a Young Weavers Group” project

Andean Textile ArtsUncategorized

ATA is creating sponsorship opportunities for fiber arts guilds, interested individuals, and other community groups in the U.S. to provide financial support to Young Weavers groups affiliated with CTTC’s ten villages. CTTC has identified an urgent need to involve the youth of its communities in the educational and preservation efforts before the tradition fiber arts knowledge and skills are lost. The three-fold focus of the Young Weavers Groups (which include knitting and spinning in addition to weaving skills) is to expose kids to and teach them about traditional textiles and techniques, for the youth to form healthy social contacts within and between communities, and to enhance their educational experiences. Each U.S. group would partner with a specific Andean community to … Read More

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 ArtsUncategorized

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