Technique: Alpaca Weaving
THE TECHNIQUE : ALPACA WEAVING
Indigenous to the Andean highlands, luxurious alpaca wool is highly prized for its warmth, strength, and lightweight texture. Alpacas have been bred for thousands of years for both their meat and fleece, and comprise a large component of traditional South American culture. The Inca civilization was primarily based in textiles made from alpaca wool, making the fabric an integral part of the rich history of the Andes.
Alpaca fiber is hollow, which creates the excellent thermal properties of alpaca wool, while its structure makes it incredibly soft and silky to the touch. South American producers hope to increase the recognition of alpaca as an ecologically responsible, soft, and durable fiber.
Each alpaca piece is made by hand in Bolivia. The Asociacion de Artesanos Andinos comprises more than 200 talented female artisans. First, they dye the wool by hand using natural dyes made from local ingredients, such as walnut leaves, thola, and cochineal. The natural dyes are environmentally friendly, sustainable, and soft on the wool. The yarn is then woven into fabric on a pre-colonial floor loom.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ARTISANS
Asociación de Artesanos Andino, located in the Arque and Tapacari provinces of Bolivia aims to provide a higher level of life for its artisans. All products are handmade following tradition continued through many generations. The unique textiles are made with natural dyes by women from one of the most impoverished areas of Cochabamba. They seek to promote and sell crafts with cultural identity in order to provide fair wages for the female artisans.