Reaching the Pitumarca weaving center is quite a lengthy drive from the city of Cusco. But knowing I would soon be with the weavers from this CTTC community made every moment worthwhile. Located in the province of Canchis in the southern region of the highlands, Pitumarca is a small town nestled at the base of the snowcapped Willkanuta mountain range near the revered Ausangate mountain. As someone who loves mountain towns, I was quickly convinced that I should live here.
The Pitumarca weavers have many unique weaving skills. Their backstrap woven, warp-faced weaves include multicolored floral and diamond patterns using a supplementary technique. They also weave highly-detailed, weft-faced tapestry weaves– the only CTTC community who carries on this tradition. Also unique to them, is a discontinuous warp technique known as ticlla. This ancient process involves changing the colors of the warp threads by interlocking them during the warping process. Definitely not for the novice! Since 2001, the weavers have produced textiles similar to the pre-Inca textiles of the Paracas and Nazca peoples. (Some of their weavings are available in the ClothRoads store.)
The vibe from this weaving center is one of a tight-knit, happy community–and so hospitable. It didn’t take long before the weavers brushed off and set up tables, quickly filling them with their handwoven textiles. They offered us a seat and served us a very hearty lunch and tea. Later I learned that the Pitumarca weavers had lost one of their beloved elders earlier in the week. Because of this loss, Nilda, the director of CTTC, had thought that many of the weavers might not be at the center–it was quite the opposite. A large group of weavers with their children were busily spinning, weaving, and chatting away while doing so. We left with an aura of loving energy and cherished memories (and just a few textiles).