Before I came to work at Threads of Peru in 2012, I was involved with another local non-profit organization called Q’ente, which similarly works to revitalize the weaving traditions in the Cusco area and provide economic support to weavers. Having volunteered there since 2009, I was already fairly well-connected with some of the local weaving cooperatives, including the one in Huaran.
In 2012, Munay Urpi was in transition. Two key members of the leadership decided they wanted to leave the group and move on to new things. It was uncertain what would happen. I encouraged Andres, a Master Weaver and Dyer who was already a member of the group, to run for President. Although rather shy and soft-spoken, I felt like the group could thrive under his leadership due to his impeccable skill and years of experience. Hesitant at first, he eventually did run for presidency and has been leading the group ever since. It is amazing to see how dynamic this group has now become, with not only new leadership but new members as well.The meeting spot in Huaran where members of Munay Urpi gather from the surrounding highlands
Andres the President of Munay Urpi weavers (photo by Jordan Putt).
Situated pretty much smack dab in the middle of the Sacred Valley – between Pisac and Urubamba – the members of Munay Urpi congregate in Huaran on a bi-weekly basis. You see, Huaran is really a confederation of 5 smaller villages – some also in the Sacred Valley and some in the surrounding highlands. Some of the weavers literally come from over the mountain to attend weaving meetings!
The Munay Urpi weavers are now one of the best-coordinated and most highly skilled weavers that Threads of Peru works with. Like, they work on many of the products in our Bags & Accessories collection, including the QOLQE change purse, LARES pencil case, and CALCA cosmetic pouch; they also produce the AMARU bracelets and ORQO bag – a design that Andres himself innovated!
Concepción Hanccu Siccus (photo by Jordan Putt)
Due to their skill, efficiency and convenient location (just an hour and a half from Cusco!), we often also have them work on the custom orders we receive. They continuously amaze me when we take seemingly impossible custom designs to them, which they promptly reproduce flawlessly.
Emmy Callero's custom design comes to life through the skill of the Munay Urpi weavers