Greetings from Cusco where we are visiting five of the ten weaving communities that comprise the Center For Traditional Textiles Cusco (CTTC), an organization we’ve worked with for many years. Nilda Callañupa, the visionary founder, established the CTTC to revive threatened (and in some cases: forgotten) weaving and knitting knowledge. Established in 1996, the Center supports the survival of Cusqueñan textile traditions- and the indigenous people who create them. We are meeting master weavers who create extraordinary textiles and we offer a glimpse into this world along with a chance to purchase one-of-a-kind pieces we’ll hand carry home. -Jody & Mary Anne
From Santa Cruz de Sallac
A tiny Andean mountain town of a little more than 500 residents at 11,715’, the CTTC weavers revived 2 nearly forgotten techniques unique to their village. One is a resist-dye technique, called ‘watay’ in Quechua, to create a pattern in their weaving. The resist pattern is typically a chakana, or cross-type design, a deeply significant design for the Inca and remains an important motif for Andean people. The second technique is a pattern that looks very much like finely detailed bands of pick-up weaving but it's embroidered, not woven. Check out our beautiful Sallac throws, truly heirlooms pieces, with natural dyed colors on soft merino wool. Prices include shipping within the continental US.
Below: The Sallac weaving group, waiting to welcome us.
Sallac weavers at work- notice the chakana pattern painted on their weaving center?
How About A Piece Of Ancient Art?
(Well, art from an ancient technique that is.)
Welcome to the complex world of anillado, a pre-Inka art that was perfected by Nazca and Paracas cultures over 2,000 years ago. This technique disappeared in Peru long before the conquest but 5 years ago all CTTC communities began working to revive this extraordinary craft. Today we know the technique as cross-loop knitting resulting in a 3 dimensional object. It is created with a single needle and a lot of know-how. Free form and inventive, the knitter begins with natural dyed hand spun wool yarn and a needle. The design resides in her head and slowly takes shape as the information is transmitted to her hands. We think these one-of-a-kind works look stunning on the wall, but don’t delay, we were only able to purchase 3 pieces. Find all the anillado pieces here and remember, prices include shipping within the continental US.
Below: The knitter begins with with needle and thread then a figure slowly takes shape.
Shopping For Frazadas at 12,500’
Frazadas, or hand woven blankets from hand spun yarn, are found throughout the Cusco region and are produced by the Quechua and Aymara people. They are rich in saturated color and we find them simply irresistible. It takes quite a bit of looking to find these vintage pieces in ‘good’ shape -but looking is fun. We ‘see’ a visual language emerge from their stripes and organization of color that resonates within. Frazadas work well as a throw or at the foot of the bed, adding a layer of rich color and comfort. Remember, prices include shipping within the continental US.