Cataloging & Using Traditional Designs

Marilyn MurphyBehind the Scenes, Indigenous Connections, Textile Traditions

The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) has long understood the importance of documenting weaving designs, techniques, and other textile traditions that were disappearing over time. One of the early goals was to create a simple design catalog as a physical archive documenting a woven example of each design and its name. In 2020, the CTTC completed the documenting of the designs from all ten communities, finishing it during Covid, which helped to maintain contact with the weavers. In 2021, the CTTC expanded the design catalog from a physical archive to a digital database, taking photos of all the designs and collecting histories from the weavers about each design. By the end of this year, all of the CTTC’s … Read More

Congratulations, CTTC Interns!

Anita OsterhaugATA Programs, Behind the Scenes, Indigenous Connections

As part of its 2022/2023 grant requests, the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) asked for the support of the ATA community to create an internships program for young weavers, aimed at developing the next generation of leadership for the CTTC and the weaving communities. You all gave generously to our spring 2022 campaign, and we were able to fund a grant that has already brought three young weavers to work at the center in Cusco. All three interns have learned new skills and provided valuable help to the CTTC’s programs. Alesandro “Sandro” Hayme, from Accha Alta, is 19 years old, and he has been interning in retail operations. He says the work in the CTTC store has been … Read More

Celebrating Peru’s Ancestral Textiles

Stefanie BerganiniBehind the Scenes, Indigenous Connections, Travel Tours

On the third of November, the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC) held a “Celebration of Ancestral Textile Arts” to mark the unveiling of its newly remodeled store, educational center, and office building in central Cusco. Throughout the day, representatives from the CTTC’s ten weaving associations spread across the sunlit green lawn of the Qorikancha, the most important temple in all of Incan culture, to work on backstrap looms, show off naturally dyed yarn, and talk with locals and tourists as interested passersby filled the wide sidewalk along the lawn. Dignitaries including the CTTC’s executive director Nilda Callañuapa, the CTTC’s board president Miryam Luna, and the mayor of Cusco, Víctor G. Boluarte Medina, all spoke warmly about the important … Read More

Chinchero Weaving Center Ready for More Visitors

Anita OsterhaugBehind the Scenes, Indigenous Connections, Travel Tours

Chinchero, Peru is a town in transition. It’s good news and bad news. Travel to Peru’s Sacred Valley has outgrown the airport in Cusco, and a new airport is under construction in Chinchero, one that will put incoming tourists that much closer to Machu Picchu, the ultimate destination of so many. The face of Chinchero is already changing, with exploding construction, more traffic, new businesses. The weavers of Chinchero are concerned about how the airport will affect their community. At the same time, they are determined to preserve their textile traditions and take advantage of what new opportunities may come. In preparation, the Chinchero weaving center, an extension of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC), has been remodeled … Read More

A Long-Awaited Visit to Peru’s Weaving Communities

Marilyn MurphyBehind the Scenes, Indigenous Connections, Travel Tours

During a recent ATA board visit to weaving communities in Peru, the village of Mahuaypampa was our first stop. Of all our visits, this community was the hardest hit by illness and low morale over the past few years. But this day, we were warmly greeted by the weavers who showered us with rose petals, followed by an honorable request to be padrinos (godparents) of their weaving shelter (we were the first group they welcomed into their center). With hammer in hands, held jointly by at least five of us, we smashed a clay jar filled with chicha, a corn-based beverage, and entered the compound. Construction of their weaving shelter was still underway (a project begun in 2019 with the … Read More

Telling the Tales: A Thank You to Libby VanBuskirk

Sandi CardilloBehind the Scenes

In her book Beyond the Stones of Machu Picchu, Elizabeth (Libby) VanBuskirk introduces herself as “a writer, weaver, and teacher.”  She continues with the statement that “the weaver’s art could never be separated from the larger culture of the Incas and their predecessors.”  Libby VanBuskirk is a serious writer. She is a weaver. She is a visionary. And her story cannot be separated from the story of Andean Textile Arts (ATA).  As part of ATA’s unfolding “memories project,” I was recently treated to a delightful and gracious chat with Libby through the wonders of our now ubiquitous Zoom. This was one of those conversations that I found myself longing for in person. I so wished for a cup of tea, … 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

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

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

Young Weavers Honor Past While Working Toward a Better Future

Deb Carpenter-BeckBehind the Scenes

In January, we introduced you to Lourdes Sullca Gutieerez and Nery Condori Layme, two young weavers from the Peruvian highland village of Accha Alta. In this post, these two amazing women tell us more about what weaving means to them, including the difficulties they face and the future they envision. For young weavers Lourdes Sullca Gutieerez and Nery Condori Layme weaving is a natural part of their lives. It is a way to honor and pass on the wisdom of their grandparents and the ancestors before them. “I feel proud,” says Nery about her weaving. “I want to learn more to pass on to other generations.” Lourdes agrees. She enjoys weaving and her passion is apparent as she points out … Read More