ArtAndes Blog

The Art of Handcraft

Posted February 25, 2014 @ 11:32am | by Melanie

The Puno area of Peru is one of the most economically stressed in the country. It's also the knitting capital of South America. I first started working with 'Minka' a co-op of women and the first in Peru to be certified 'Fair Trade' back in 1990. Their work is very unique due to the fact that all their alpaca yarn is handspun on a drop spindle. 100% alpaca can not be machine spun, only handspun, and there are very few doing it.
I changed my relationship with the women in 2000, to a 'Humanatourism' project. Instead of buying their knit goods, I brought my groups to their community as more of a cultural event. It's been an incredibly rich experience for all and we just completed the 14th year of ecotourism there. However, it's not enough for them. The founder of their co-op, a strong business woman who has brought their goods to an international market during the last 25 years, has had serious life issues and they are without a leader or a market. So, we are working together on an alpaca mitten, scarf and yarn design project that is promising to be a good market for all! I can assure you that pure alpaca mittens are a sensual way to survive a polar vortex! 

Filed Under: Peru travel | Permalink
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