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Preserving a traditional weaving technique near Cusco

17 Jan

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We spent part of Tuesday in Chinchero visiting the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco where local women gather to preserve their traditional weaving method.  The traditional indigenous weavers use the back strap loom, which dates back to pre-Columbian times, to create their textiles. When we arrived, the weavers handed each of us a poncho to wear and a cup of tea to sip on.  Nilda Callañaupa leads the women and explained to us how they create a piece, from hand-spinning the yarn to weaving the actual textile and finishing the borders.  Nilda’s co-op differs from the others that we’ve visited because customers can visit their store and purchase products there on a regular basis.

Photos by Lacey Weninger and Sharon Kessler

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Dancing their dance at the Minka co-op in Juliaca

13 Jan

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Through Melanie Ebertz’s ArtAndes tour, we have been able to experience what she calls “real Peru:” a world beyond beautiful hotels and popular tourist sites (though we are excited to see Machu Picchu). On the trip, many indigenous Peruvians have welcomed us into their shops and homes.

On Friday, we took a bus from the city of Puno to Juliaca, where a group of weavers awaited us.  The women of the Minka co-op (Minka means “working together” in Quechua) greeted us right after we got off the bus, complete with a four-man band and women dancing in their traditional clothes.  The dancers grabbed our hands and we joined them in their dance.

After huffing and puffing from dancing at about 13,000 feet above sea level, we met the weavers and they demonstrated their techniques. The 20 members of the ArtAndes tour left with about $1,300 worth of hand-crafted clothes, a ton of appreciation from the weavers and smiles to bridge the miles between their cultures.

Photos by Brita Dallmann, Megan Roltgen and Sharon Kessler.