A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to volunteer at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. Many of you have attended the market in past years but there wasn’t one in 2020. So this year’s was especially joyful even though many artisans weren’t able to be there in person. Nilda Callañaupa, the founder and director of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CTTC), was able to attend. The booth was vibrant with textiles until close to the end when most textiles had gone home with textile aficionados.
Nilda and I escaped the heat for a bit, ducking inside the Museum of International Folk Art so we could talk about how the Center and the weavers are managing through the second winter of COVID. The vaccine is only now available in the Highlands to people 50+ in age. Many weavers and their families continue to struggle through food scarcity and little income as textile sales have been slow to resume. (CTTC’s primary store and museum in Cusco only opened a few weeks ago and tourism has barely ramped up.) What I did learn though is how the Andean Textile Arts auction, A Bid for the Future 2021, will continue to support the weavers through another year of the pandemic. (Hear more from Nilda and the current pandemic climate in the Cusco Highlands on an August 6th Long Thread Podcast.)
Textiles + Fundraising
Last year, Andean Textile Arts raised about $25,000 from its first auction to benefit CTTC. This year’s auction A Bid for the Future opens Wednesday, August 25 at noon ET, with an offering of 88 unique textiles (last year, there were 64 items). Through August 28, you can bid on a wide range of Andean textiles (from Peru and Bolivia), from vintage to contemporary pieces, from large wall pieces and wearables to smaller treasures to fit any budget. It’s your chance to help Andean artisans while treating yourself to some exceptional Andean textiles. While you can’t bid yet, previewing is available now.
Learn more about ATA’s 2020 accomplishments in its annual report.
Very Special Carrying Cloths (Llicllas)
A few very fine carrying cloths chosen for the 2013 Weaving Lives exhibition at the Avenir Gallery, Colorado State University are among the many llicllas available for bidding. These are all exceptional cloths of handspun, natural-dyed wool and alpaca with meticulous finishing. Each one is from different weaving villages and emphasizes their designs and revitalized techniques.
Other Ways to Support: Remote Education and Cochineal
If you don’t want to (or can’t) acquire more textiles, consider a purchase of a phone card which allows cell phone time for the village children to attend school remotely. Most families don’t have computers but they do have cell phones. Children call in to their class but the family’s cell phone keeps running out of time. Buying a $10 card will help tremendously.
Or you can help by funding the purchase of a kilo of cochineal. During COVID, the weavers have continued to weave but lack the funds to purchase the very important cochineal dye. This natural dye is critical to obtaining the luscious shades of reds, purples and more. Each of the ten weaving communities use 7-10 kilos of cochineal in a year. Your donation of $45 will buy one kilo.
We realize you may not have the means to support the weavers, so consider sharing this auction information on to others who may be interested. We are grateful for any support.
Bidding starts Wednesday, August 25.