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  • Handcrafted Textiles made in South America
  • HandmadePeruSouth AmericaTextiles

Handcrafted Textiles made in South America

Traditional and 100% authentic we use specially designed textiles imported from all over Latin America.

There is a rich and long history that is connected to the beautiful textiles that are coming out of South America. Shorn from animals native to the region. The wool is washed, spun, threaded – and all of this is done by hand! These soft and strong fibers are then dyed using completely natural materials that can be found in nature. After being dyed the wool is intricately spun and woven together into complex and intricate patterns that help make them so famous. These textiles are used for numerous creations like scarves, bags, Mantas, clothing and even our shoes!

In this article we will go into depth and explain how these breath taking textiles come into being. Continue reading to learn about this ancient tradition of Peruvian art.


Background:

Andean textiles are a sacred tradition passed down throughout the ages for at least ten thousand years. While the very first textiles were actually made out of cotton, as the technology and practice advanced the Andean people began including wool from the Alpaca and llama.

Quick Fact: Did you know that some of the ancient Andea tribes used quilted armour to protect themselves in battle? The quilts were so thick and finely woven they were equal in strength to European armour!

In these traditional communities it is often the role of the women and children to take care of their flocks of sheep, llamas, or even alpacas. Once a year the villagers shear their flock and collect the wool which is then used to make their beautiful textiles.


Did you Know?: That the fleece from an alpaca is consider MORE rare than silk?

Dying the Wool:

For thousands of years the people of the Andes have passed on their knowledge of color dying using natural materials found in nature. Today textiles are often a mix of both natural and synthetic fibres combining old and new traditions.


Boiled for varying periods, the yarn is dyed according to the natural materials used and the colour desired. Ingredients, like salt or urine are used to create multiple shades and colours, alter hues, or intensify colour saturation. After the yarns have dried, they are re-spun and made into balls of yarn. Materials and colors that are used depend on the region and personal preference of the dyers and weavers.


Did you Know?: Textile arts were extremely labor intensive and required extraordinary skill. A single tunic might be made from 6 to 9 miles of different colored thread.


A short breakdown of colors and their ingredients:

Color

Ingredient(s)

Red

Cochineal – A bug typically found on cactuses in the Sacred Valley of Peru

Green

Ch'illca – A green plant with white flowers

Purple

A combination of Cochineal and Urine or Lemon

Grey

Tara – A bean like pod and Iron Sulphate

Brown

Harvest from the natural brown fur of alcapas and llamas

Blue

Combination of Tara and blue Copa (a form of iron sulphate)

Yellow

Qolle Flowers – Found in a small tree made in the region

Black & White

Shorn from naturally colored animals

Quick Fact: During the time of the Incan Empire textiles were considered more valuable than gold! The Incas people offered textiles as tributes to their gods or to important officials.

Looms & Weaving:

Weaving the colorful fabrics together the native people use traditional looms to create beautiful & intricate patterns. For over a thousand years the Incan and Andean people tried and perfected this skill. Often it takes several years until one is fulled versed in the art. These complex Peruvian textiles are made with a primitive backstrap loom, or on the basic frame loom. Using simple looms, made of little more than sticks, the wool is woven by hand into complex and beautiful patterns.


The Backstrap Loom:

Is an elegant tool in its simplicity, effectiveness, and portability. The loom is made up of nine core parts, with a certain amount of variation in the make-up of the loom, depending on region and the needs of the specific project.


The Four-Post Loom:

The four-post loom, is a form of a horizontal loom in which four stakes or posts are hammered into the ground into a rectangular arrangement.


The designs of the textiles are ancient and go back countless years to old traditions and faith. Colors, patterns and especially symbols all hold significant meaning and not simply decorative. The patterns created look amazing but there is so much more to them then just simple design. The styles and patterns woven tell a complex and beautiful story often connected to nature, a feeling or can even tell a story! Each weaver has a different personality and this will often express itself inside the work that she does. Flowers, animals and even people are all woven into these intricate textiles and as time progresses weavers have begun to add their own interpretations and designs into the the fabric.


Did you know?: That weavers can sometimes make tiny variations in their patterns or symbols as to convey humor or sadness! Often woven animals or symbols come from the imaginations of the weaver.


The Result:

Beautiful, authentic, hand woven textiles that will be made into anything from scarves to shawls to shoes. Amazing how these textiles represent thousands of years of tradition, culture, knowledge and history. - Inkkas

  • HandmadePeruSouth AmericaTextiles