Threads of Peru Blog
Ligia, originally from Guatemala, joins the Threads of Peru team!
With years of experience working with traditional textiles in her home country, Ligia brings her expertise to Peru. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and International Trade, obtained in July 2015 at the Rafael Landívar University. While working in her home country with two different organizations, she developed a passion to preserve the traditions and culture of Indigenous communities. Being herself part of the Maya K’iche community, working towards empowerment has become an essential core of her professional path.Read more
Greetings from Cusco! My name is Harrison Ackerman and I’ve been here with Threads of Peru as an Evaluation Research Intern since early July. Although Northport, a small Long Island town in New York, is where I call home, I’ve been in Boston for most of the past few years in school at Northeastern University. I’m currently the youngest in the office at 20 years old and will graduate with a degree in Political Science and International Affairs this upcoming May.
Warping is one of the many steps of creating the beautiful products by each artisans. Photo courtesy of Alexa Jones.
I was immediately drawn to Threads because of the focus on economic development and expanding opportunity in marginalized communities. However, what really solidified my decision to pursue a six month research project was the organization’s unique strategy. Rather than relying on the benevolence of donors to empower indigenous artisans, Threads has utilized the international market to create a model of social enterprise that warrants replication in other industries and across the world. The potential for creating positive change in such a sustainable business-driven project was reason enough for me to join the Threads team, and luckily enough there was a specific project concept that we excitedly agreed upon.
Annie with Ruperta in the community of Uppis. Photo courtesy of Annie Marcinek
Annie, my research partner, and I are in the process of creating and implementing the organization’s first evaluation project. As September approaches, we are finishing the project’s planning phase and will be beginning extensive community visits and weaver interviews in the upcoming second phase. The research will ultimately allow us to better understand the weavers with whom we work through the collection of baseline data. Additionally, responses to our ¨defined¨ and ¨hypothetical¨ socio-economic question sets will inform future project development and help us to more effectively support weaving cooperatives by addressing their individual and collective needs.
The thriving of Huaran weavers shows why Threads sincerely appreciates the support from our customers, followers and volunteers. Photo courtesy of Alexa Jones
Evaluating the work of NGOs like Threads of Peru is absolutely essential to ensure their continued success. For Threads to distinguish itself within the sector, it needs to prove that its initiatives are yielding worthwhile results. The days are over of investing in a cause because the needs are great and the ambitions are grand; donors want to be part of something with proven impact. While this research project is just the first step of many on the long-term evaluation horizon, building a strong foundation is key to creating a comprehensive strategy. In the words of American author Hunter S. Thompson, ¨Anything worth doing is worth doing right.¨
Hola – Hoi – Hey – Salut
My time with Threads of Peru has exceeded my expectations. Visiting the communities and learning how to weave with a back strap loom myself has greatly inspired me. I was able to closely watch the weaver’s habits, their styling as well as the way they transport and wrap their belongings and purchases.
I immersed myself in the Andean culture trying to translate their textile tradition into the modern world. I was searching for a design language that both cultures – the Andean, and my own culture (which I would like to call European) will understand.
Eliane out and about near the community of Chaullacocha during an entrega.
I am a fashion designer from Zurich, Switzerland, however for the past two years I have been living in Paris, France. I moved to Paris to work for the fashion designer LUTZ HUELLE. After two years of assisting the creative director, I decided that I was ready to take the next step and built up my own company and brand.
Elaine learning to weave on a backstrap loom.
However before embarking on this new chapter in my life, I wanted to widen my horizon further by seeing a corner of the world that is still unknown to me. Being passionate about textiles, design, pattern making and fashion, I applied to Threads of Peru proposing to design a little capsule collection for them.
Eliane and Armando working on creating the prototypes for her capsule collection.
As a result I used traditional pallays (textile designs) and known combinations, such as their black skirts with the colourful Golòn (a work-intensive and difficult ribbon), combined them with leather and gave them a modern, clean shape. I paid a lot of attention to finishings and details, which I believe are the essence of a clean, luxurious product.
Sewing the prototypes with new shapes and sizes has been a fun adventure for the team in Chinchero.
I fell in love with Cusco and the surrounding communities and even though I don’t know what the future will bring and if I ever come back to this area, it has greatly impacted my life. It has also inspired me to travel and explore all traditional and unique textile techniques in the world. I would love to continue collaborating with other similar organizations around the world.
Eliane piled up in the back of a truck to make her way to the community of Parobamba.
I am very grateful to the team of Threads of Peru, Sarah So (volunteer coordinator) who made me feel at home and helped me wherever she could from the minute I landed in Cusco and Dana Blair (project coordinator) who took along to all her community visits and faithfully trusted in my design decisions, and all the other volunteers, Stephanie Pardi, Alexa Jones, Giulia Grassi and Harrison Ackerman who enriched my work but also private time in Cusco.
Hola! My name is Giulia and I am from Italy. Currently I am living in London and studying Marketing at the London College of Fashion. It was my passion for both textiles and fashion that originally brought me to discover Threads of Peru. One day during a class called “Fabric and Fibers” at Central Saint Martins School, I discovered my interest in weaving and I wanted to know more about the process and Peruvian textiles in general.
Weavers from the community of Uppis. Photography by Giulia Grassi
When I first heard of Threads of Peru, I instantly connected with the organization’s mission of maintaining a population’s cultural tradition through innovative and efficient initiatives. Here at Threads of Peru I am doing a three-month internship, in which my main task is to analyze the organization’s current brand image and its current marketing plan. Threads of Peru is looking to expand its network and throughout my time here I have analyzed the European market in order to understand how to integrate Threads of Peru into this market.
Natural dye workshop in Huaran. Photograph by Giulia Grassi
It is really interesting working with such a young organization like Threads of Peru because unlike working with most other start ups, working with Threads of Peru also involves discovering the world of Andean artisans, along with their culture and traditions. This type of understanding is what makes my work here so interesting.
Volunteers Stephanie, Giuia, Eliane and Alexa riding in the back of a pickup truck in Quillabamba. Photography by Alexa Jones
Working here at TOP has been a very exciting experience, moreover the team has been really friendly and there is such a good connection between all of us.
Street in San Blas. Photograph by Giulia Grassi
Cusco is an amazing town. I love to walk through the streets of Cusco, especially the neighborhood of San Blas and enjoying a nice coffee there. Here people are nice and very friendly. Cusco is a town where it is easy to become inspired just about anywhere, with streets full of artisans selling amazing handcrafted jewelry and textile products, almost all artisans open to sharing with you their personal stories and skills. I really enjoyed my time here and when I leave I will really miss Threads of Peru and Cusco!
This month, we are thrilled to announce that we will be featuring indigenous jewelry items by like-minded organization ORG by vio ® in our store! ORG by vio is a non-profit that works in partnership with indigenous artisans in the Amazon to promote their culture and artistry and providing a sustainable source of income. Just like Threads of Peru, ORG by vio sells fair trade items with the goal of increasing the livelihood of indigenous artisans.
Designer Violeta Villacorta founded the non-profit and designs collections of handmade jewelry, accessories, and eco fashion items using plant materials native to the Amazon. She believes that “adornment connects us to something higher … it honors the beauty of the Earth and power of nature.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some of the ORG by vio items we are featuring in our online store:
ORG by vio joins other non-profits we are already working with to support indigenous Peruvian artisans on the path to economic empowerment and cultural preservation, Awamaki and Q’ente.
Founded in 2009, Awamaki’s mission is to “collaborate with the greater Ollantaytambo community to create economic opportunities and improve social well-being.” They are committed to empowering “highly skilled Andean women artisans engaged in the market economy, running successful cooperative businesses, and leading their communities out of poverty.”
The Q’ente Textile Revitalization Society is “an incorporated British Columbia not-for-profit society, which works directly with over 100 weavers in the Sacred Valley region of Peru by providing an outlet to sell textiles in North America. The aim of the project is to establish sustainability in the Sacred Valley region through the textile tradition, which is an integral part of the Quechua culture, history, and economy.”