Design & Production: Peruvian Textiles
The Quechua Collection pays homage to this rich cultural lineage.
The process starts with an idea, sketched out on paper. We then take that idea to the weavers, who consult with us and help us develop the design, often through samples of the proposed idea. Along the way, they illuminate our minds with teachings about the meanings of the designs and the colors. Once we and the weavers are satisfied and comfortable with the design, the new piece will get added to the production schedule.
In one of the most extreme climactic environments in the world, production of the Quechua Collection begins in late March and April, immediately following the months of heavy rain that make weaving difficult and transportation dangerous.
With the mountains then painted in lush greens – and after having already spent weeks calculating the quantities of yarn needed for the rainbow of natural colors – we take advantage of the abundant natural dyeing materials - plants, mosses, and insects - to produce the full range of the Quechua Collection color palette in baby alpaca, alpaca, and wool. This rich palette is later blended with un-dyed yarn during the production of our pieces.
After it has been dyed, the yarn must be spun – twice – in order for it to be resilient enough to withstand the rigor of back-strap loom weaving. This is deftly accomplished by the weavers using their pushkas (“drop spindle” in Quechua) – even while walking and talking!
When the yarn has been dyed and spun, a process that takes about two months, the Threads of Peru team travels between 1-4 hours by vehicle and to altitudes of over 4,500 meters (14,500 feet) to distribute orders. Each textile is discussed and assigned individually, after which the artisans pound their wooden loom stakes into the soft ground and get comfortable, sitting in pairs to begin warping. This can take several hours, but they are spent in company, each pair laughing and chatting while they work.
Every cooperative is given one month to work on their weavings comfortably from their homes and fields. Each artisan has the liberty to determine her own hours according to other commitments, such as tending to their children or animals. In this way, each individual work of art is created, thread by thread.
Each laborious step in the production of the Peruvian textiles in the Quechua Collection is lovingly attended to by all members of the Threads of Peru family. From placing q’olle flowers into boiling dye pots to hand-twisting decorative fringed finishes, each textile in the Quechua Collection is 100% natural, and produced using both environmentally conscious practices and ancient techniques.