The Bolivian Warmis Phuskadoras Spinzilla spinning team has not lost their enthusiasm for Spinning Week although they will not be competing in the The National Needle Arts Association (TNNA) event this year. PAZA and Doña Máxima, Team Captain, have organized a local event. Registration took place during the month of August and 29 spinners signed up. Between now and October 1, the 1st day of Spinning Week, the spinners will be preparing fleece for spinning as there is no roving locally available for purchase. That prep process is labor intensive and includes wheelbarrows and the Palca River, click here to link to last year’s tale.
The spinning event will involve contracting a vehicle on 2 different days for the trip to Huancarani, where 21 of the participants will be spinning. A trip mid-week gives the spinners an excuse to congregate, socialize, and eyeball each other´s progress. Since childhood, they have vied with one another in their spinning and weaving skills and that competitiveness hasn´t lessened a whit. Doña Maxima is tasked with photographing during these rare opportunities to capture images of the evanescent farmer subsistence lifestyle. Monday, October 8th, will be Measuring Day and Doña Maxima will hire 2 folks to help with the exhausting job of measuring around 68,000 yards of yarn, one yard at a time. The spinners want every ball of yarn to be measured by the same method, so no niddy noddys or yarn counters can be used.
All 6 members of PAZA’s Club de Artesanas will be participating.This is the first Spinning Week competition for the two new members. They are young mothers originally from the community of Sanipaya, but now live in a new neighborhood in Independencia. Doña Maxima said their mothers are thrilled that their adult daughters are becoming more involved in their textile heritage. The 2 new Club members know how to weave using the embedded double weave technique employed to weave traditional celebration weavings. Since joining the Club, they have learned the pick-up pebble weave style of weaving used by the Huancarani weavers and in the PAZA weaving
orders. Doña Máxima related that she is impressed with the fineness of the straps they wove to fill their first PAZA order. She was overdue for apt weaving pupils, she has tried to teach many teens and women who have been in the Club and lacked the interest to get over the initial learning hump.
As mentioned in the last posting, purchasing phuskas (drop spindles) in Independencia has become a problem since the last phuska maker died. Doña Maxima asked if phuskas were available for sale in Sanipaya. The spinners from Sanipaya responded no, that they buy phushkas in the city of Oruro when they go to visit family and sell their corn at the harvest fair which attracts vendors of all ilk. Fleece from highland Oruro is coveted by all the spinners because of the long fibers compared to the local sheep fiber.
Doña Máxima will be hustling back from Cochabamba to be in time for the start of Spinning Week in Independencia. Most of you who have visited PAZA in Bolivia have met her daughter, Zoraida, who resides in Cochabamba with her family. Zoraida and Luis will be married on September 29th. In attendance will be their 10 year old daughter Zunilda and her 1 year old sister Luz Ariana. Marriage ceremonies for rural Bolivians usually take place years after a couple has started a family, simply because the expense involved in feting the community for 3 days isn´t a priority. Because they live in the city Zoraida was able to reduce their celebration to 2 days without raising eyebrows. Zoraida weaves when she is in Independencia and has worked at all the PAZA sales activities in Cochabamba.
Thank you Susan Weltman and Lyn Lucas for your continued support of the Bolivian spinners and weavers. PAZA funds will be wired to Doña Maxima next week to cover the expenses for the Club de Artesanas through the end of the year, the Spinzillita (Little Spinzilla) activities, and for the end of the year Centro de Artesanía (CAH) annual meeting and the Spinzillita celebratory feast and prize awarding to be held in December. Those expenses total $1,065 which is 44% of what is in the PAZA operating fund. Please consider clicking on the “Donate” button above to support this effort to help women to help themselves and their families through their fiber arts skills. The team is still looking for a TNNA sponsor for 2019. Thank you. Dorinda Dutcher, September 12, 2018