Tinkuy 2017: A Gathering of Textile Arts in Cusco

Tinkuy 2017, celebrated in Cusco, Peru from November 8 until November 11, began with the much anticipated parade from the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco to the Convention Centre, where the meeting was to be held. The colorful display of tradition and exuberance was clearly felt far beyond those attending the meeting. Citizens of the Cusco region and tourists alike stopped in their tracks to watch the prideful display of traditional textile techniques, many originating from far beyond the Peruvian border.

This, the third Tinkuy, came with notable additions. Formerly subtitled the “Gathering of the Weavers”, this year it was called the “Gathering of the Textile Arts”, which meant that embroiderers and specialty dyers were included in the celebration. Also, as if celebrating traditional techniques was not enough, this year the underlying theme included celebrating the continuation of tradition by including the youth. Lectures and discussion often involved ways that village members are transmitting technical information to the younger generation and also talking about how the social relevance is conveyed and maintained. Many young people attended the meeting, particularly on the last day of the conference which included a “Passing of the Torch to the Younger Generation”, a particularly poignant moment.

Every day’s packed schedule included guest textile artist presentations, which for me were particularly interesting. At this time, the artisans had an opportunity to talk about what they are doing within their communities as they move forward, how they have formulated their future plans, and how they intend to ensure that supplies will remain available and/or their deliberate return to traditional methods. They also talked about their young people and how they are tending to them and their commitment to maintaining tradition. It was humbling to listen to the effort that they are expending in keeping their creative lives meaningful for their children.

Teaching the youth.

The keynote addresses set the backdrop for the conference and tied the evidence that we were seeing around us to the textiles’ long and extensive history. That perspective really was essential, forcing the conference participants to take a deep breath and try to understand the magnitude of all that was around them.

The schedule included time for demonstrations and workshops every day. This time clearly pointed to the unspoken theme of Tinkuy – the cross pollination of ideas and techniques. This happened at so many levels – from one culture and/or village to another, from one specialty to another, from one fiber-type to another, from one country to another – and it was all truly magical.  People had come from many villages within Peru, as well as other countries within South America, such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. Traditional artists from Guatemala, Mexico, the United States, Canada, Afghanistan, India and Laos also attended.

People gave so much of themselves, often with so much thankfulness. Sometimes the gift came in the form of a song, sometimes in the form of a dance. Tinkuy 2017 was a special time of color, textiles, dance, music, learning and inspiration. Thank you CTTC and ATA!!

Thanks Teena for sharing your wonderful experience with all of us!

Textile Teena in her element!

Traveling Textile Stories Can Weave A Real Peace

Do you ever wonder why we textile folks love to travel the world in search of the chance to meet other textile makers and lovers? What can be accomplished by passing on the techniques of creating cloth and sharing stories with new artisans we meet? Travel offers a bridge to understanding culture through textiles and their place in our lives.

Much of my travel has focused on the cultural study of textiles, both ancient artifacts and contemporary cloth. One such trip to El Salvador stands out because I discovered the many layers of meaning that cloth can bring to a place where history, politics, and people are enveloped in the blue of indigo.

In 2007, after a long journey from Guatemala to El Salvador, members of Weave A Real Peace arrived at Hacienda San Juan Buena Vista and heard Grace Guirola’s personal story, one that spans generations and seemed destined for a bright blue future. Grace’s great grandparents produced and processed indigo in the distant past, but her family fled to the safety of the United States during the civil war in El Salvador, the land taken by cooperatives during the agrarian reform. Years later she was able to buy some of her family’s land from the cooperative, return to her beloved landscape and begin a long journey of restoring her ancestral home and building a life based on indigo and cloth.

We walked the ground where Grace had planted two varieties of indigo, shared stories over a meal and delightfully dyed yarn in her indigo vats after dark. It was a memorable experience that resulted in a small treasure trove of dyed items to carry home. But the indigo had penetrated more than cloth, it had created a memory to carry, one more woven story in my mind.

Indigo memories in cloth.

I have been fortunate to travel many places around the world and these international experiences have completely reshaped the way I think about our global environment. The exhilarating experience of being thrown into the unpredictable miasma of a world market—be it the plaka, the souk, or the plaza—will change a person. And everywhere in these world markets there are textiles, dye plants, and the stories and memories of women.

The textiles in our lives are so much more than beautiful objects, they contain the stories of our lives and the world. You are stitching a part of WARP’s story and each story reflects country, culture, ideas, ideals. Cloth, in all its various forms, is a powerful agent of change in many regions of our world – cloth can be transformative and reach across the widest gap.

So, what can we do? First, how about being a Textile Ambassador? Check into ClothRoads and sign up for their email list and you will be able to download a wonderful pdf on how to be a Traveling Textile Ambassador. Next, pack your bags and get ready to travel to Mexico and meet people who love cloth as much as you do. Let’s go find new friends and create new woven stories to share.

Get out – travel – join us – share your story on FB and Google Groups; together we can Weave A Real Peace

 

Good Reads and Resources for Oaxaca travelers…

Textile Fiestas of Mexico: A Traveler’s Guide to Celebrations, Markets and Smart Shopping, 2016, Sheri Brautigam. Fabulous book and just what you need for Oaxaca. Available at ClothRoads and ThrumsBooks.

Zapotec Weavers of Teotitlan, 1999, Andra Stanton. The culture, legacy and techniques of Zapotec weaving.

The Unbroken Thread: Conserving the Textile Traditions of Oaxaca, 1997, Kathryn Klein, ed. Conserving the textile collection at the Regional Museum of Oaxaca.

Artisans and Advocacy in the Global Market:Walking the Heart Path, 2015, Simonelli, O’Donnell and Nash, eds. The latest on working with artisan groups, including our own Christine Eber’s work in Chiapas. She will be bringing two women to the meeting in Oaxaca.

A Textile Guide to the Highlands of Chiapas, 2011, Walter Morris Jr., if you are going into Chiapas!

Maya Threads: A Woven History of Chiapas, 2015, Morris Jr. and Karasik, a history of the cultural textiles of the Maya of the Chiapas area.

Mayan Hands

Mayan Hands
9607 Dr. Perry Rd. Suite 114
Ijamsville, MD 21754

(518) 729-1900
info@mayanhands.org
www.mayanhands.org

Contact person: Anne Kelly

Wholesale Accounts Available

Mayan-Hands-logoThe mission of Mayan Hands, a nonprofit, fair-trade organization, is to empower Guatemalan Mayan women artisans in their quest to bring their families out of extreme poverty while maintaining the culture they cherish. The Mayan Hands artisan partners create high- quality handmade textile and artisan products that include scarves; handbags and other accessories; home décor such as table runners, placemats and napkins; pine-needle baskets; felted-wool animals; friendship bracelets; Judaica products; Christmas and other holiday gifts.


Marrakesh Express

Marrakesh Express
791 College Ave. #2
Haverford, PA 19041

(610) 649-7717
sdavis@uslink.net
www.marrakeshexpress.org

Contact person: Susan Schaefer Davis

Wholesale Accounts Available

Marrakesh-Express-logoGiving Moroccan women access to a world market by selling their weaving online, thereby retaining more profit as they bypass the middleman, is my focus. On my website, you can “meet” and buy directly from Moroccan weavers in the nonprofit section, Women Weavers OnLine. The rugs are handwoven wool and usually one- of-a-kind; some women can also weave to order. I lead cultural tours where we visit some of the weavers, as well as meet other Moroccans in their homes. When I am in Morocco in the spring, I can shop for a Moroccan rug in the style, colors, and size you would like.


Cultural Cloth

Cultural Cloth
W3560 State Rd. 35
Maiden Rock, WI 54750

(715) 607-1238
info@culturalcloth.com
www.culturalcloth.com

Contact Person: Mary Anne Wise

Wholesale Accounts Available

Cultural-Cloth-3Cultural Cloth collaborates primarily with women throughout the developing world to produce exquisite home textiles and personal accessories. Our colorful retail shop is filled with gorgeous textiles. The shop is a test kitchen where we cook up products that have a sustainable chain of production. Products that test well become eligible for wholesale production targeted to a select group of nationwide retailers. As lifelong textile artists, we understand the demands of our market and are available for consultation on product feedback, design, and development. We offer tours to Guatemala to "buddy up" with the Mayan women whom we’ve taught to hook rugs and successfully shepherded them through the International Folk Art Market application process.


Traditions Mexico Cultural Journeys

Tour Operator

Traditions Mexico Cultural Journeys
1117 Garfield #7
Ashland, Or 97520

(541) 646-0496
traditionsmexico@yahoo.com
www.traditionsmexico.com

Traditions-logo Traditions Mexico has been creating pioneering cultural tours focused on indigenous textiles and lifeways in southern Mexico since 1996. Our tours introduce you to the people and places of another land, another way, and another pace. We take you across the cultural gap by creating encounters around common interests such as weaving, pottery, or food creation. In this way, we share and participate, creating dynamic encounters and breaking down barriers. Our knowledgeable guides take travelers to places of rich, ancient, and little-known traditions to meet the last of the Mixtec shell dyers, Zapotec silk producers, backstrap weavers, and cotton spinners.

Tia Stephanie Tours – Cultural Journeys

Tour Operator

Tia Stephanie Tours, Cultural Journeys
1260 Patricia Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

(734) 769-7839
info@tiastephanietours.com
www.tiastephanietours.com

Contact person: Stephanie Schneiderman

Tia Stephanie-logoWe design and operate textile art and cultural journeys to Mexico, parts of Colombia, and Panama. Our tours focus on natural dyeing and ikat dye resist, and the weaving techniques woven on backstrap and pedal looms, such as brocade, gauze, and tapestry. We explore textiles and dress as ethnographic expression that forms an essential part of the cultural landscape of the country. Our tours explore the coast and isthmus of Oaxaca, La Chinantla, Oaxaca, the Sierra Norte and Valley of Tehuacan, Puebla, and the Maya highlands of Chiapas. We also offer a unique program on the Mexican Rebozo: Ikat Techniques and Traditions.


PUCHKA Peru

Designer, Tour Operator, Internships

PUCHKA Peru
Urb. Brisas de Santa Rosa Mz. I, Lt. 17III Etapa,
San Martin de Porres Lima 31, Peru

Canadian address:
2645 Mt Stephen Ave.
Victoria, BC V8T 3L5

51 (991) 368-938
giancarlo@puchkaperu.com or sasha@puchkaperu.com
puchkaperu.com

Contact person: Giancarlo Soldi or Sasha McInnes

PUCHKA-logoWe are a small service company built upon fair/ ethical-trade ideals. Our purpose is to share some of the extraordinary, fascinating, and magical history, sites, textiles, folk art, and traditions of Peru via tours: Twenty-two days in enchanting Peru with nine days of workshops visiting Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and much more or twelve-day tour to Ayacucho/Huamanga to see the WARI/Huari archaeological sites; visit villages, markets, museums, and workshops of many textile/folk artists. Internships with Living National Treasure and master weaver Maximo Laura and other Indigenous Peruvian textile and folk artists available.