Intricately detailed and often ecstatically colorful, the textiles produced by Cusco, Peru-based artisan Timoteo Ccarita Sacaca and his team of weavers are remarkable for their creativity and beauty. For centuries, this region’s distinctive garments identified their wearers by gender, marital status, and their community roles. Ponchos, for instance, perhaps the most recognizable Andean garment, were historically worn by men during ceremonies, while elegantly stitched chuspas, or bags, were designed to carry coca leaves and other goods. Today, these and many other gloriously colorful, energetically designed textiles can be enjoyed the world over for both practical use and special occasions.
Timoteo and his artists use wool gathered from sheep and vicuñas of local farmers. Dyes, too, come from locally sourced plants, minerals or insects. First, wool is spun into yarn with a spindle, which is suspended in the air and twirled until the yarn is strong enough to tolerate the strains of weaving. The yarn is then dyed or left in natural shades of white, gray, brown and black. Weaving requires great skill and foresight, with vertical and horizontal strands of yarn precisely arranged in intricate motifs.
Many of the patterns used by Timoteo and his team are interpretations of ancient Andean cosmology: from observations of the stars, repetitious motifs representative of rituals and energetic spirits and much, much more. Beauty and mystery coexist in each of these heirloom-quality textiles.