Nilda Callañaupa Álvarez
Medium of Work:
Non-profit weaving cooperative El Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco (CTTC) employs hundreds of highly skilled artisans in the historically and culturally diverse city of Cusco, Peru. CTTC was established in 1996 by Andean weavers and their supporters to ensure the survival of Andean textile traditions and to provide support to weaving communities in areas like social networking, market development, and specialized skill-building. Working with ten unique communities throughout the region, CTTC not only provides employment opportunities to Cusco citizens, but also ensures that in an ever-modernizing era, Peru’s distinctively beautiful, age-old artistic techniques are not lost forever.
A range of items are expertly crafted by CTTC’s artisans, from breathtaking mantas—or traditional shawls—to richly hued tablecloths and bed coverings; no matter the finished product, all raw materials come from sheep and alpaca, with other yarns sourced from nearby mills in Arequipa. Yarn is woven on backstrap looms, spun on drop spindles and colored with natural dyes. Peruvian weaving traditions are inherited from generations of ancestral cultures of Peru, with some motifs and patterns going back thousands of years.
Weavers live in the high communities of the Andes of Cusco region, and in addition to being masters of their craft, many also work as farmers and animal herders. Since its inception, El Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco has received numerous accolades, including the highly regarded UNESCO Award, as well as many others. Nilda Callanaupa, has been recognized nationally and around the globe for her astonishing dedication to her region and her keen interest in preserving traditional art-making techniques.