Juana Condore Chillihuane, a 44-year-old artisan of the Uppis weaving association, was born in Ocongate. She now lives with her husband, Paulo, and their five children in the community of Uppis. Her oldest daughter Victoria (aged 23) is also a member of the weaving association. Her other four children (Nohemi (17), Rumersero (16), Marta (10), and Ismael (2)) are all attending, or will soon begin attending, primary school in Uppis and secondary school in the nearby town of Tinqui. Nohemi and Rumersero are both quite interested in weaving, and are learning the process by watching their mother (although, Juana says, Rumersero sometimes seems a little more interested in fútbol than weaving).
Juana prepares a watia for the Threads of Peru team! Photo by Giulia Grassi
When asked about her favorite color palette to work with, Juana described her appreciation for natural colors. In Uppis, she explained, there is not immediate access to many natural dyeing plants, so she has come to use a lot of whites, greys, browns, and blacks in her designs; this means that, essentially, her threads go from alpaca/vicuña to textile without utilizing the middle step of the dyeing process.
By working in the comforts of her surroundings, Juana is also able to be alongside her family and colleagues. Photo by Alexa Jones
Juana’s favorite products to make for sale are chalinas (scarves). She explained that a chalina isn’t a very complicated textile, so she is able to play around with designs and colors more so than with other, more intricate textile patterns. She is excited to learn how to make cellphone holders and pencil cases (cartucheras). Her main reason for wanting to learn how to make more products, she said, is to make money that can be used to provide a comfortable life for her five beloved children.
Article by: Annie Marcinek