This intricately woven Peruvian table runner with shades of indigo also features two bands of traditional motifs.
The yarn is tightly twisted wool and alpaca and is naturally dyed from local plants, flowers, barks, bugs, and roots. The backstrap weaving technique produces a double-faced fabric in which the pattern is the same on both sides, but the colors are opposite. Patterns are produced by picking up the warp threads from the bottom layer to create a motif, at the same time dropping their corresponding warp threads from the top so that the motif appears on the opposite side.
The edges are cleanly finished with a decorative tubular braid, nawi awapa, meaning “eye border”. No two are alike as each weaver’s creativity is translated into their work. Machine wash, line dry.
Traditional Mahuaypampa textiles favor color combinations in red, pink, purple, green and the natural grey of sheep wool. Mahuaypampa designs are normally small and narrow; weavers will often place multiple designs next to each other. The principal design of Mahuaypampa is mayu qenqo, which is said to represent the Milky Way.
In Mahuaypampa textiles almost turned into ancient history as only a few elders continued to weave. Since partnering with the CTTC in 2000, the community has worked toward teaching younger generations the knowledge of these elder weavers so that their traditions will not be lost. Today approximately 30 Mahuaypampa adult weavers and 12 children are once again weaving with natural fibers and dyes in the traditional style of their community.
This table runner was handwoven by Susana Huamán Nuñez a member of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco cooperative weaving village of Mahuaypampa, located in the Peruvian highlands of Cusco.