We are all woven together!

Spinning for Peace

Posted September 4, 2015 @ 12:18pm | by Melanie

I think there are similarities between Peru's history of hand-spinning and Gandhi's use of the spinning wheel to prepare Indians for independance by inculcating discipline and self-reliance. Gandhi urged men and women, including the highest officials, to produce at least 25 meters of yarn a year. "Every revolution of the wheel spins peace, goodwill and love," he preached. Gandhi claimed that spinning thread in the traditional manner also had material advantages, as it would create the basis for economic independence and the possibility of survival for India’s impoverished. Gandhi made it the patriotic duty of every Indian to spin his own cotton and weave his own cloth.
All ArtAndes rugs are of hand-spun wool, the spinning takes place in a rural area in the Ayacucho department, one of the more poor areas of Peru. We buy every cm of yarn the women spin and we have done so, from the same group since 1996. 
In a different part of the Andes, near Cusco, my friend Nilda Callañaupa (Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco www.textilescusco.org) has revived the tradition of hand-spinning so strongly that it has been a direct link to cultural preservation in Chinchero. 
In Peru, it is not the wheel that Gandhi used, but the drop spindle. I believe the hand-twist of the drop spindle expresses the same positive effects in the universe. Many indigenous people of the Andes have retained their cultural identity through the making of their textiles, from spinning to weaving.


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