Center for Weavers, Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Chinchero weaver spinning wool at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero ("Awayricch'arichiq"), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Chinchero weaver spinning wool at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero (“Awayricch’arichiq”), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Beginning in the late 1970s, Chinchero weavers have worked as a group organized by Nilda Callanaupa, a native of Chinchero, with the mission of reviving ancient Chinchero weaving styles and techniques. At the time of the inception of the group, Chinchero’s textile tradition was dying out due to demographic changes and the growth of the tourist market, which demanded more homogenized, non-traditional weavings. As a result, the weavers were using aniline dyed colors and synthetic yarns to produce very simple textiles that did not reflect the community’s ancient weaving style and aesthetic.

Chinchero weaver preparing for weaving at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero ("Awayricch'arichiq"), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Chinchero weaver preparing for weaving at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero (“Awayricch’arichiq”), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

The group of weavers and their children joined the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco in 1996 and its mission to ensure that the ancient traditions of textiles would not be lost. There are 30 weavers and 35 children, who first learn to weave narrow bands of jakimas in traditional patterns, ensuring that the tradition is passed to the next generation.

A selection of plants and herbs that are the sources of the all natural dyes for wool at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero ("Awayricch'arichiq"), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

A selection of plants and herbs that are the sources of the all natural dyes for wool at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero (“Awayricch’arichiq”), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

The principle objectives of the weavers are: to weave the ancient patterns, revive the use of natural dyes, to produce high quality textiles of natural fibers, to reintroduce the traditional dress and the use of traditional textiles in the home, and to commercialize their high quality textiles in order to generate a sustainable income.

One of the weavers showing samples of the variety of colors from natural dyes at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero ("Awayricch'arichiq"), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

One of the weavers showing samples of the variety of colors from natural dyes at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero (“Awayricch’arichiq”), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

 

Two weavers showing the differences in darkness fron natural dyes achieved with the addition of a natural darkener at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero ("Awayricch'arichiq"), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Two weavers showing the differences in darkness from natural dyes achieved with the addition of a natural darkener at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero (“Awayricch’arichiq”), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

The president of the weavers’ association notes: “We strive to achieve the highest quality, and therefore only sell new textiles. All of our weavings are made from natural fibers and we use all natural dyes to create our colors. Each piece is woven by hand and then reviewed to ensure that there are no errors. We also wash and iron all the textiles to guarantee that the colors will not fade and that the textiles will remain in top condition.”

Weaving demonstration (#1) at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero ("Awayricch'arichiq"), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Weaving demonstration (#1) at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero (“Awayricch’arichiq”), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Textiles in the village of Chinchero are woven on a backstrap loom using sheep, alpaca and llama wool. The majority of the patterns in Chinchero are created using the warp complimentary technique, which results in double-faced patterns.

Weaving demonstration (#2) at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero ("Awayricch'arichiq"), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Weaving demonstration (#2) at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero (“Awayricch’arichiq”), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Textiles woven in Chinchero are also available for sale in Cusco at the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, a non-profit organization established in 1996 to aid in the survival of Incan textile traditions and to provide support to weaving communities. The Center also sells textiles woven in eight other Peruvian communities.

Weaving demonstration (#3) at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero ("Awayricch'arichiq"), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

Weaving demonstration (#3) at the Center for Weavers of Chinchero (“Awayricch’arichiq”), Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru


4 thoughts on “Center for Weavers, Chinchero (Sacred Valley of the Incas), Peru

  1. Such artistry! It’s sad that they have had to move to some synthetics. Can they sell their pieces there or do they need to go through their Cusco non-profit broker?

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    • The Chinchero weavers are now using only natural fibers and natural dyes and traditional weaving designs. They have a large retail store at the weaving and demonstration facility where most of our group bought several items — very high quality, attractive and well priced. They do go through the larger non-profit association in Cusco and sell out of that retail shop, too. Fortunately, we have seen this type of kickstarting of ancient weaving traditions in African and Asian countries, too. Serious travelers are very happy to pay fair prices for authentic fabrics and finished pieces, which supports this revival of these almost lost crafts.

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      • My visit to this center at Chinchero was the highlight of my time in Peru. I didn’t get to the center in Cusco. I saw only natural fibers in all the items being woven. I loved watching the young girls at their backstrap looms; we were there on a Saturday AM. And the director’s grandmother was also there, the oldest of their weavers. It is an uplifting experience to see these traditions alive and well because of the foresight of the founder.

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  2. Great pictures! Steve

    On Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 8:46 PM, Where in the world is Riccardo? wrote:

    > richardcedwards posted: ” Beginning in the late 1970s, Chinchero weavers > have worked as a group organized by Nilda Callanaupa, a native of > Chinchero, with the mission of reviving ancient Chinchero weaving styles > and techniques. At the time of the inception of the group, Chincher” >

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