It was a fairly busy week; one of those which filled up as the days have gone by and built up momentum rather. So, the bag of good things sitting at my feet here in the studio went unopened until now.
The bag itself was bought in Chinchero, as were most of our treasures. It’s a sturdy woven fabric, has the zip pocket but is otherwise a simple striped bucket bag. I’ll enjoy using it.
We couldn’t leave Peru without buying one chullo but rather than choose one with llamas and suchlike, we went for a softer, alpaca one in pretty, plant-dyed colours whilst we were at the market in Pisac.
Not being a particularly adept French-Knotter myself, I quite liked the surface decoration.
Now, you already know about this length of braid from that same market, intended for my hat. Since we’ve been home, I’ve got hold of the book and have read a little more about the methods of weaving these narrow pieces. The concern appears to be that younger women are working more on these narrow, quicker projects rather than the larger, more time consuming pieces because they are more saleable of course.
So, I am particularly happy that we chose a bigger piece when we were in Chinchero. Clearly, a more complex combination of pattern, this weaving is about 45cm wide and a metre or so in length and was worked on a backstrap loom by one of the women in the cooperative. The patterns are traditional and include the hoe “hook”, the cows eye (circle with a dot in the middle) and puma claws, similar to the narrow braid design. The yarns are dyed with natural dyes and though the bulk of the weaving is worked in wool, the white puma claws are alpaca.
The whole piece is edged with the traditional “eye border”, worked with the forked stick and by picking up the threads in exactly the same way as we watched the woman doing that morning.
We plan to hang our weaving somewhere at home, though right now, are undecided where and how!
We love it!
We brought home a few more small pieces, though considering the price, it’s hard to believe they are of quite the same heritage. Still, they are colourful and useful examples of Peruvian textile traditions, for sure.
Oh, and one last piece. My hero spotted the lady with these bags sitting quietly on the grass outside the cathedral. I paid hardly anything for it, which is possibly just as well, because it’s not exactly heirloom quality! But it’s made from a piece of old fabric, is colourful and fun and for me, it represents a morning spent chatting with those old ladies who were happy to tell us about their costume, their life and their failing eyesight. We loved them.