Last month, over 800 weavers, spinners, knitters, textile enthusiasts, and scholars attended Tinkuy, the third international gathering of textile artisans in Cusco, Peru. And what a gathering it was. Artisans came from near and far, from North to South America, from Europe to the Far East. The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco and Andean Textile Arts sponsored this intensive event which spanned over four packed days. What follows is a small visual taste of the many artisans sharing their culture, their wisdom, their traditions, their textile knowledge, and their passions.
Festivities Began with a Parade…
The Tinkuy began with a parade from CTTC’s museum/store to the Convention Center in Cusco–the traffic was stopped, the procession was led with live music, and each community and country marched and danced wearing their traditional dress.
…And Moved to the Stage
We all gathered to hear presentations on the past, present and future of textiles, all translated in English, Spanish and Quechua. Plus special treats of dancing, music, and the fashion show grand finale. Even the VP of Peru, Mayor of Cusco, Governor, and Tourism Minister joined in during parts of the festivities.
Artisan Traveled from Near…
The convention center’s courtyard overflowed with ongoing technique demonstrations from the highland and lowland Peruvian communities.
Spinners and weavers from neighboring Peruvian countries and far-flung ones demonstrated their unique skills.
Artisans Taught, We Learned
Participants registered for specific hands-on workshops and learned new skills–the Guatemalan weavers Amalia Gue and her sister Carmen taught their pikbil technique to Peruvian weavers; others learned Andean spinning, backstrap and tubular weaving, or qhurpus knitting from CTTC artisans; and a special post-Tinkuy all-day natural dye workshop was held in Chinchero.
Smiling for the Camera
As you can imagine, cameras were everywhere capturing whatever we could for our memories of the richness in dress, color, smiles, and new friends.
Traditions Passed on to the Young
The final day was a gift for all–the young weavers from the ten CTTC communities attended. They learned the basics of how a book is made so they can record their own stories; they demonstrated their prowess of weaving skills; and they were honored with a passing of the weaving “torch” from their elders as they are now the caretakers of the future.
Learn More and Help
If you want to read a bit more on Tinkuy, you can still see the day-by-day schedule here and visit Andean Textile Arts for updates. If you can donate any amount toward the ongoing efforts of preserving the Andean textile arts into the next generation, we so appreciate it. Plus, we just added more finely-crafted, artisan made, one-of-a-kind products to the online store. Come shop.