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The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, founded in November 2012 and hosted by the Aspen Institute, is a collaborative effort of over 70 artisan businesses, artisan support organizations, corporations, government agencies, and other partners who are working together to promote the full potential of the global artisan sector.  

The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise was created to elevate the importance of the artisan sector, support and grow artisan businesses, and share best practices in a collaborative learning community. 

Alliance in the Field: Peru

Blog

Alliance in the Field: Peru

Natalie Deuschle

During the month of April, the Alliance traveled to Peru for two Alliance events in Lima and to visit Alliance Member Center of Traditional Textiles of Cusco  (CTTC). 

Kicking off the Alliance's work in Peru, Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez, Founder & President of CTTC, and one of her esteemed weavers, Maribel Quispe, shared their artisanal work and cultural history during a cocktail reception for the opening of Katoomba XX at the home of the Swiss Ambassador in Lima, Peru. 

A snapshot of Nilda speaking to a crowd of distinguished guests at the home of the Swiss Ambassador of Peru. Her organization employs 650 weavers and has thousands of beneficiaries. 

A Sense of Place: Sustainability and the Artisan Sector in Peru

A Sense of Place: Sustainability and the Artisan Sector in Peru

Alongside the Katoomba XX conference, the Alliance hosted a breakfast round table discussion A Sense of Place: Sustainability and the Artisan Sector in Lima, Peru. The round table featured notable guests from the craft and sustainability sectors in Peru. Alliance Members WeConnect International, CTTC and Green Design Link were present for the conversation.

Topics of discussion included the relationship between the artisan sector and the environment, creating sustainable value chains in the artisan sector, linking women entrepreneurs, leveraging sustainable design as an advantage in the face of globalization and securing the basic humanitarian needs of artisans. The round table discussion was fruitful in bringing together key leaders dedicated to supporting the artisan sector and resulted in plans for a forthcoming meeting during COP later this year. To read a detailed summary report of this event, click here

After the breakfast round table, the Alliance traveled with Nilda to Cusco to visit two of CTTC's weaving communities, Sallac and Chinchero. 

In Sallac, a mountain village an hour outside of Cusco, CTTC has brought together a guild of 50 weavers. Together, the community has revived almost extinct forms of weaving, Ikat and embroidery. 

Nilda teaching her weavers how to dye alpaca wool using natural resources, like the cochineal insect.

Nilda teaching her weavers how to dye alpaca wool using natural resources, like the cochineal insect.

The day that the Alliance visited, Nilda was conducting an alpaca wool dyeing workshop that began before the sun came out and ended in the evening. CTTC uses only natural dyes, an important distinction from the synthetic dyes that have become popular in Peruvian weaving and are known to have harmful effects on the environment. In each community, wool is dyed only three times a year.

Outside of CTTC's weaving center and store in Chinchero, Peru. 

Outside of CTTC's weaving center and store in Chinchero, Peru. 

After a day of dyeing wool in Sallac, the Alliance traveled to Chinchero, where CTTC has a beautiful weaving center and store. 

A CTTC weaver using her back strap loom. 

A CTTC weaver using her back strap loom. 

In Chinchero, textiles are created on back strap looms. Artisans of CTTC create one to three highly detailed woven pieces each month. 

CTTC products can be purchased in stores across Peru, including their shop in Cusco and their museum and weaving center in Chinchero. Currently, CTTC is producing for Peruvian Connections and is interested in producing for more wholesale buyers. 

Our journey to Peru was an incredible success! We are grateful for the opportunity to have connected so intimately with Alliance Members in Peru and look forward to continuing our work together to support the artisan sector.

All photos taken by Natalie Deuschle. Click here to see a roundtable report of our trip.