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 fine thread. Now their accomplishments (such as the piece shown at the top of this article) are on exhibit at the Museo Inka in Cusco, Peru, and we are proud to be a major sponsor. Through this project, the weavers have learned more about their heritage and have had a direct hand in reviving the work of their ancestors. But now the practice and knowledge of this technique must continue so that it is not forgotten once more.
We certainly want to support this effort and are talking with CTTC about bringing the exhibit to the U.S. This is where we need your help. Do you know of any museum or gallery that might be interested in helping sponsor this exhibit? We envision also bringing some of the weavers to the U.S. to conduct workshops on the looping technique. It’s all part of our educational outreach and highlighting of Andean textile arts.
If you’d like to learn more about this ancient textile practice, take a peek at the weavers stitching the looping technique in this video:
Marilyn Murphy is President of ATA and managing partner of ClothRoads.com, an online marketplace and blog devoted to global textiles. An ATA board member since 2013, she co-curated the exhibition, “Weaving Lives: Transforming Textile Traditions in the Peruvian Highlands,” at Colorado State University’s Avenir Museum. Previously Marilyn was yarn group president and editorial director for Interweave Press. She also owned the Weaving Workshop in Chicago and founded the Textile Arts Centre there.