I say the First Time because I can’t imagine this being the last time.

Before I left for Peru I had my usual travel jitters. My usual nuttiness. I was nervous and scared and worried about a million things. I had no idea what was in store or really even what to expect. Abby had described the place and the people but it was hard for me to have a clear picture.

Well, now I have a very clear picture. And I took lots of pictures too. I’m including a few here but I have all of them in my Photobucket Folder called Peru 2010 Not all of them are labelled but you can check them out.

Let’s start at the beginning:

It takes a long time to get to Peru. Mostly because of layovers and wait times. We waited in Miami for more than 12 hours for our flight to Lima.

It felt like forever since our flight was about midnight and we got there about 10AM.
But once we got there it was an overwhelming feeling of disbelief and wonder and happiness. We rested on the first day but on the second day the running began and didn’t stop. We were on our way to the first of a few sites of ruins but our patient driver stopped to show us Cochineal. The white is surrounding grey bugs on the cactus.
He squashed one in his hand and the amount of red that is used for the dye that came out was unbelievable. Cochineal was everywhere on every cactus.
This is the Inca ruins at Urubamba. Amazing and slightly scary for those of us afraid of heights. Each terrace was for cultivation of food as well as fortressing the place. There were terraces on almost every mountain in the area.
After Urubamba we went to Pisac and I though I might die. There were true tears and crying (from me) and encouragement and a little tough love from Abby and Michelle. If it weren’t for that I may still be there because I felt like I couldn’t go on at a few spots.
But there was some retail therapy at the end and some darling girls with a lamb for tourists like me to photograph. One Sol was the price for a picture and I’m glad I have it. They are delightful.

This is the market where I got the carved gourds for my mo and me. They are so beautiful and carved with many symbols and scenes from daily life including weaving and spinning and dancing which are all important parts of life here.The next day was the beginning of the Tinkuy. Two full days of interesting presentations from people all over the Americas. This is a photo of Nilda Callanaupa who is a magical woman who can make miracles happen and who can command all those around her who then serve happily.

The Tinkuy was opened with a beautiful ceremony of offering coca leaves to the earth. Each attendee had an envelope with 3 coca leaves which were put in baskets with a wish for the Tinkuy to be successful. Out wishes were granted. The weather was lovely and the instruction was fantastic.
This was one of my favorite things about lunch. The lines of people with their fantastic clothing. I loved the clothing. LOVED IT!
This woman is from Guatamala and the weaving she is doing is so very complex. Everyone of thoise sticks has string heddles for a different part of her weaving.
This woman is from Equador and is demonstrating a driven spindle. It was beautiful and fluid to watch. Notice all of the prepared fiber.
Maggie was a big hit with all of the weavers. here she tries a spindle belonging to a woman from the Chumbivilcas community in the Cuzco region of Peru. Notice that this wool is only washed. There is no further prep. That is what I saw all over with the spinners. Take note that no expensive tools are necessary to make fantastic yarn that then goes into textiles that last for many, many years.
Abby was beautiful in her Chinchero clothing and she wasted no time to show me that she can ply from a skein. Something that makes me very nervous. I need to practice more.
D.Y. Begay was there from Arizona with her marvelous Navajo spinning and weaving. She did a lovely presentation about Navajo methods of weaving.
This is a teenage weaver from Chinchero…I may get to that width of weaving in a few more years!
The knitting….the knitting…the knitting…so complesx and fine. I took a knitting class and it is very difficult and I have3 lots of practicing to do there too. At some points I was trying to manage 5 colors of yarn at one time.
This man was working on tapestry on his backstrap loom. It was beautiful to watch him work.
At the end of the two days of presentations there was a wonderfully touching closing ceremony where the older weavers in each community passed on their weaving knowledge and tools to the younger generation.
Each night there was a party with contests and dancing and lots of sharing. This was a spinning contest which included all fo the children and Abby’s son and Maggie.

And we all danced.

The Chinchero market was colorful and fun but there was class to get to so i didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to.

There was a natural dye class that looked beautiful when it was over. I was in the knitting class that was so engaging I took no photos.
The next day was a weaving class about circular edgings. While we were warping my second edging there was a hail storm. I wished I was wrapped in all of the wool that my instructor was.
And then there was Machu Picchu.
It wasn’t AS scary as Pisac.
A lovely breeakfast that included Chocolate Caliente and fresh Manzanilla (Chamomile) tea
The square in Cuzco city from our breakfast balcony.
And Maggie was able to get some traditional skirts. She looked so cute that the ladies who were weaving at the center wanted to complete her look.
It was a lot of traveling and learning and work. Maggie fell asleep at dinner.
This man is a fantastic knitter. I have a bit of video of him that I will be adding to Youtube shortly.
Maggie got some weaving instruction from many experts – as did I.

And Ryan…We brought him a hat and a Pan Pipe. He was out by the road yesterday with his pipe and hat hoping that if he played people would put money in his hat. I think he gets it from my Mother’s side of the family. He was quite disappointed since we live on a not so busy street.

So, while I was in Peru I fell in love. I fell in love with the people. I fell in love with the weavers. I fell in love with the CTTC. I will be in their lives.

I also brought home a massive amount of textiles for the shop as well as a nice selection of Peruvian low whorl spindles. All of these things will be on the webstore as fast as I can list them. We need to preserve this fantastic and complicated and beautiful and useful art by helping and supporting these weavers.

The reality was brought home during this trip that we were within just a few years of all of this being lost. I am not exagerating. We can’t lose the knowledge of this. We need to support these people as well as textiles all over the world. Machines cannot do these things. Only talented people who work for years to develop the knowledge.

Peru is beautiful but in the end it was the people who got to me. They are happy and friendly and most loving. Though many are very poor, they are hard working and they share and, not to sound silly, I wish to be more like them.

There is so much more to say but work is calling me from the shop…

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