Throughout my writing career thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to write about a great many things – mortgage rates, organic foods, wine, art and so much more.
Recently, I had the opportunity to write a profile of a master weaver with whom I spent a week studying in Peru. The piece will be published in a fiber arts magazine in a few months.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share a little about the experience here.
A little over a year ago, I went to South America for six weeks, a month of which I spent weaving in Peru. For one week, I stayed with Leoncino Tino, a master weaver, in Huancayo, Peru.
Huancayo is the third largest city in Peru, but it has almost no tourism. Cuzco is bustling with tourists from across the globe coming to hike the Inca Trail and visit Machu Picchu. Several hours away by bus, Huancayo does not attract many tourists. However, it made it onto my itinerary because of Tino. His weavings are truly amazing.
Tino grew up in a family of weavers in a village of artisans. Weaving was passed down through the generations of his family, and he stepped into the tradition naturally at a young age. As he grew older, he began to push the boundaries of the craft. He traded traditional yarns for unspun wool, which allow him to create depth and detail generally unachievable in weaving.
For the first few days, Tino and his wife Mari alternated in guiding me through the creation of a traditional Peruvian blanket with traditional patterns and markings. I worked with soft alpaca wool in black, white and grey.
Next, I attempted a smaller weaving in Tino’s style. Of course, it is nothing in comparison, but it was fun to learn the technique, and I would love to pick it up again someday.
My weaving in progress
If you’re interested in weaving, I highly recommend visiting Tino in Huancayo. He and Mari welcome traveling weavers into their home, provide warm-cooked meals and instruction.
Learn more about Tino, and see more of his work at http://www.andiamerica.com/whoweare.html.