We are all woven together!

The next generation

Posted August 5, 2020 @ 6:29pm | by Melanie

Samuel Quispe Paredes has been working with yarn for about 30 of his 33 years. I met him when he was nine years old. That was in 1996 when I started working with his Padre Wilber Quispe. I clearly remember the shy boy, the oldest of three siblings, winding yarn at his Dad’s side. I asked him if he thought he would be a weaver, he quickly replied clearly stating his two goals; to be a banker or go into the military! 

At the time I met Samuel, the house they were living in was built out of brick and straw. They were living in a shanty town populated by political refugees from Ayacucho, who had fled the violence of the Shining Path. They were surrounded by poverty, he obviously didn’t see the financial benefit to following in his Fathers footsteps. Artisans were not making it.

After Samuel finished high school he pursued a business degree. Thankfully his dreams changed from being a soldier to being a chef. Throughout all of that, he wove. The quality of his tapestries rival Wilbers.

Every year, since 1996, a few ArtAndes travel groups start their Peru journey with a visit to the Quispe Workshop. The family went from being painfully shy, to hosting, demonstrating and being the ‘accountants’ with ease. It was a long process to get there but along the way, all 4 children saw the great value of their skill through the eyes of their guests. They all weave. And someone in every group bought a Samuel one of a kind tapestry.

Samuel did open his restaurant a few years ago. I was happy for him, but sad to see him put the craft aside. ‘Cubil Restaurant’ just across the street from the weaving studio, specialized in ceviche and anything to do with papas. He did however have to supplement the restaurant business with weaving, as he now had two little ones to raise.

Well here we are in 2020 with a pandemic ravaging our world. Samuel’s restaurant is shuttered. The Master Weaver is back at the loom full time. ArtAndes will try to keep ordering custom rugs from the family. Our homes need more beautiful heirloom textiles than ever, this is not the time to quit!

Samuel in back between his parents in the late nineties

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