On the Road with CTTC

June and July were busy, busy travel months for CTTC, with a major presence at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC, followed by the Santa Fe Folk Art Market.


The Smithsonian event, Peru Pachamama, focused solely on Peru this year, unlike previous years in which several countries were featured. The extreme biodiversity of Peru provided opportunities to feature highland, jungle, and coastal cultures.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival. (Photo by Elvert Barnes / CCBY)

As reported by ATA board member Jan Gibson, CTTC was represented by Nilda and Angel Callañaupa along with Timoteo, Damian, Rosita, Delia, Epephenia, Leandra, and Quintina from member villages. Their activities were by no means confined to weaving: they were also dyeing, cooking, dancing, telling stories, presenting at discussions, and signing books. Timoteo Ccarita, from Pitumarca, performed the ceremonial Alpaca Chuyay. An indoor marketplace offered textiles and books from the Center.

This busy schedule lasted for two five-day stints of hot, humid weather – like the jungle, they remarked. Nilda expressed surprise at how many Peruvians visited the festival.

A weaver from Pitumarca demonstrates that village’s special tapestry tradition at the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival. (Photo by Jannes Gibson)

Jan encourages everyone to check out the event’s website, http://www.festival.si.edu/2015/peru/smithsonian, for videos, blogs, and photographs. She also notes that a special exhibit, The Great Inka Road: Engineering an Empire, will be on display at the Museum of the American Indian until June 1, 2018.


With only a couple of days between events, Nilda and Rosa Bernadeth Pumayalli Quispe of Chinchero headed directly from Washington to the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. With more than 19,000 visitors over a three-day period, this is perhaps the biggest single opportunity for sales that CTTC experiences each year – and one of the most rigorous.

Gregoria Huaman making a belt at the International Folk Art Market. (Photo by ClothRoads)

Nilda was honored as one of four “Change Makers” by the International Folk Art Alliance, which sponsors the event. An essay on her experience with the Center and her hopes for the future appear in the event’s program.

ATA board member Jennifer Moore was a volunteer Artist Assistant, as she has been for many years at the event. She noted that CTTC has become a magnet for serious textile enthusiasts, with many repeat customers. Purchases this year exceeded those of previous years, with many big-ticket items being sold: bedspreads, Santo Tomas blankets, intricate ponchos, scaffold weavings. Runners and shawls were also popular.

Nilda displays fine textiles for a record number of buyers at the International Folk Art Market. (Photo courtesy of Aspen Times)

Dealing with the rush and pressure of thousands of customers is quite a challenge, and Jennifer reports that Rosa, a first-timer at the event, used her good language skills and calm demeanor to speak effectively about the work and help people find just what they wanted. She was also finding spare moments to photograph the event and post on Facebook.

Jennifer encourages friends of CTTC to come to Santa Fe and especially to come as volunteers, not just as shoppers. It’s hard work, she says, but so rewarding – so good to feel you are part of a global event that promotes handcrafts and artisans so effectively. Visit www.folkartalliance.org to learn more.

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