Master weaver specialising in the ancient and complex techniques of the four-stake loom (in Quechua language Pampa Away) and of the backstrap loom (q. Kallwa).
I grew up in the community of Osefina (4,200 m.a.s.l.), in the highlands of the district of Pitumarca, Canchis, Cusco, and I come from a family of farmers and alpaca herders. Our community lives in the puna, the high part of the Andes, in the shadow of the Nevado Ausangate: our Apu (sacred mountain).
At the age of 38, I moved to the town of Sicuani, where I now live with my family: I have 5 sons and 4 daughters. I cannot imagine my life without weaving. For me, weaving is giving form through my hands, it is a continuous learning process, it’s the pleasure of experimenting, the challenge of new designs and ever more complex techniques. Even when I’m sick, my hands go on their own, they weave and weave.
As it is custom in our communities, I learned to weave by watching other women in my family, in particular my grandmother. I began by spinning the fibre of our alpacas and gradually learned all the steps of the weaving process. At the age of 15, I mastered the backstrap loom technique with supplementary warps (q. ligui pallay), the most widespread in the district of Pitumarca.
Among my first creations, I remember a chumpi, a sash worn as a part of the traditional dress or used to wrap and hold newborn children. That same chumpi had a special value in my family life: I used it to wrap my first two children, Octavia and Aniceto. When I was 20 years old, I started to sell my creations in the regional and national market, making textile art my family’s economic livelihood.
Over the years, I have received several awards and recognitions for my art and talent. Among the latest, the recognition “Weaving Art and Wisdom” by UNESCO and the Commission of Women and Family of the Congress of the Republic of Peru (October 2018), achieved with the accompaniment of the European project Women with Talent implemented by the NGO ASPEm; the award “Best craftswoman” at the Fair of Ananiso, Pitumarca (July 2018); and the recognition “Best quality fabrics” in the contest of the European project “Spinning Cultures” of the NGO Practical Solutions (December 2015).
Because of COVID-19, we have had to reinvent ourselves. My dream is to be able to make more fellow artisans not give up and continue to express their art. I am creating this platform to include them and to allow all of us to have an additional channel of contact with the public, so they can value our common art and work. Also, I am willing to establish a space for purchasing products, taking advantage of the benefits of the virtual environment.