Aula Artesanais giving the Fiber Circle Studio community an opportunity to work side by side with the artisans of Peru on a 7 Day Retreat in Peru on learning how to naturally dye, spin and weave on a backstrap loom.
No fiber arts experience required. We have worked carefully to provide an experience that is both beginner and experienced friendly, offering more advanced options as we work.
Below you will find highlighted information about the trip. Please "click here" for day by day details!
We'll be staying at high end, boutique hotels with gorgeous properties, cozy rooms and delicious food!
Nunu Boutique Hotel | Willka T'ika | El Abergue
All of our meals are home-cooked with large varieties of fresh vegetables, fruits, and optional meat. Breakfasts are buffet style, with really great coffee, and every meal has freshly picked tea!
We will also be treated with a meal cooked in the Pachamanka (earth oven) in the rural community of Patacancha - something that simply can't be described. You have to taste for yourself. I have never eaten so good in my life!!!
THE COLORS [NATURAL DYEING]
One of the amazing things about the colors of Peru, is all of their plants are foraged within their region. The brilliant, saturated and array of colors come from generations of passed down knowledge and experience. And these women are opening up to share this wonder with us!
We will be dyeing 3 skeins of yarn each with the women ofPichinku Yarn(a Peruvian based, naturally dyed yarn company). Start dreaming about projects you can knit, weave or crochet with the gorgeous colors you'll be dyeing!
THE FIBER [ALPACA CEREMONY, SHEARING + MAKING YARN]
The Quechua people strongly believe in giving thanks to Mother Earth (Pachamama) for everything she gives us, and this includes celebrating the gift of the fiber from the alpacas before they shear and use the fiber for their textiles.
We have been invited into this scared ritual, and not just for observance, but actual participation. They will outfit us in their beautiful mantas, skirts and hats, let us part take in shearing and invite us in a circular, group dance.
After giving thanks and celebrating the beautiful fiber, we will head back down the mountain where we will watch their process of washing the fiber in preparation for spinning.
Teaming up with a spinner, they'll walk us through making a single ply yarn, and a 2-ply if you choose to do so! The tool they use for spinning is known as a pushka, or a drop-spindle.
If you want to dye your mini-skein of yarn that you make, they'll have some dye pots stewing away!
THE FABRIC [WORKING WITH A WEAVER TO MAKE A WALL HANGING]
After choosing your colors of yarn that have been naturally dyed by the women in the Quechua community, we'll break off one-by-one with a weaver and together build and warp the back strap loom. The loom and all it's tools are sticks that have been carved for each use.
Over and under the sticks, the balls of colorful yarn will go to create your warp. Literally working hand, in hand, the weaver will show you how to create a special motif through the use of hand picking a warp faced pattern.
After 2 days of weaving, we'll get to take our pieces off the loom and tie the fringe, resulting in a finished piece to hang on the wall and cherish forever.
This weaving doesn't just represent yarn and color. It represents the ancestral tradition of Quechua artisans. It holds a memory of connection and collaboration of this time spent with the weavers who have so generously invited us into a special place.
EXPLORATION [ANCIENT INCA CITY OF OLLANTAYTAMBO, MARAS SALT MINES]
Lastly, we'll get an opportunity to explore the surroundings.
Ollataytambo is one of the ancient Inca cities and rests at the base of Macchu Picchu. Grab a coffee, wander the town and marketplace or take an optional hike to one of the ruins.
The Maras Salt Mines are a mind blowing scenery of active salt mines that are worked by several families. The salt from here is to die for! I am still cooking with the little bag I bought - savoring the flavor!
If you would like to explore more of the Cusco region before or after our retreat, please reach out to Sonya of Aula Artesana for help in organizing other experiences.
This experience is being hosted through two wonderful women, Sonya and Steph, who are so respectful, mindful and empowering in their choices of who they work with. They are helping to provide visitors with an unforgettable, valuable experience while bringing awareness and support to these Quechua communities of artisans.
I hope that you will join us for this really special experience, take lots of photos and come home with a full heart and soul.