Dana and I took a trip last friday to Chaullacocha to do a pedido, or an order, with the women of the community. The day started out early; we rented a 4x4 and left the office just before 6:00am, weaving through the Sacred Valley as the sun rose and the clouds burned off. We drove through Urubamba, then Ollantaytambo, then Patacancha and Rumira Sondormayo (all familiar towns), but then we kept going from there about 2 hours up the pass, to a community called Chaullacocha. The bumpy, battered road curved through the mountains, and suddenly we came out onto a flat high plain with a view of three stunning peaks right in front of us. The small valley on top of the snowy pass is home to Chaullacocha, and the weaving cooperative of 30 women that we work with.
When all of the women were gathered with their supplies, Daniel, the master weaver, started translating as Dana explained the products we wanted to order. We divided up the items so that each woman had work, and started picking out colors from the balls of thread they each brought from their own alpacas. They quickly set up their corner posts and began to warp the thread for the products. Daniel was so helpful; we could never have done the pedido without him translating, guiding, and teaching the women how to create the textiles we wanted them to make. By the time we left at 4:30, each woman had her product set up and was ready to begin.
In this pedido we ordered some of the same products that we have been selling lately, like the men’s and women’s ponchos, but we also decided to try some new patterns. I spent much of last week sorting through color palettes and researching fashion trends to determine what color combinations are most likely to sell. At Chaullacocha we tried out some of these new palettes, so we are very excited to see how the final products turn out.
Written by Megan Malley