Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of the Andes, written by Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez and Christine Franquemont, with photographs from Joe Coca, vividly portrays dozens of ancient weavers and the landscapes that they occupy in the Cusco region of the Andes. The book reveals the personal stories and life experiences of the weavers, bringing to life the decades of endurance, skill, fortitude and natural pride honed from the time-honored traditions of the region and its people.
Faces of Tradition was the Gold Award winner in the Multicultural division of the 2014 Benjamin Franklin Awards. The IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, which includes fifty-two categories recognizing excellence in book editorial and design, are regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers.
“This beautifully-made new book focuses on the culture of the Andean people thru individuals,” said Linda Ligon, the creator of Thrums Books. “The Andean people portrayed are so poor, materially and so rich culturally. They have had incredibly hard lives, yet these women are carrying on their culture and prevailing. They are so proud of who they are. It has been thrilling to pull this book together with Nilda, Christine and Joe.”
Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of the Andes beautifully illustrates stories such as Pitumarca’s Timoteo Ccarita, who became so interested in the old textiles he found in his own travels that he recreated tapestry techniques from sight; people like Leonardo Quispe who single-handedly rescued and revived the techniques of ikat-style tied-warp dyeing (watay) in his community of Santa Cruz de Sallac; or like Cipriana Mamani, who remembers that in her town of Accha Alta, their finely woven textiles had many lives and were repurposed for use over and over again. Coca’s intimate photographs capture the elders, some of who had never seen a picture of themselves or even looked in a mirror, in striking images, revealing the life, strength, character and experience of these men and women.
“When I began traveling throughout the Cusco region to work with weavers, I met many remarkable women and men whose hands and minds were never still from their fascination with cloth,” expressed Callañaupa Alvarez. “In this book I hope to share with many more people the opportunity to meet these Elders and the communities that surround and support them.”
“Writing this book was a slow and wonderful process, which began with spending a lot of time with Joe Coca’s photographs,” said Franquemont. “I found myself staring at and studying faces, swept away from my Connecticut reality across continents to closely encounter women and men who embody and enact much of everything I’ve ever known and loved about the Andes.”