Cultural

The Warmis Phuskadoras Spinzillita

Photo Day, 1st Spinzilla, Huancarani, 2014

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.

Rinsing Fleece After Hot Water Wash Over Fire

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.

Heavy Wet Fleece to Transport Home

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

Doña Claudia´s First Weaving Order

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.

Measuring Day, Sanipaya, 2017

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.

Doña Antonia Measures, Maribel Tallies, and Doña Justina Rewinds Her Yarn

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

“Spinzillita” and Club de Artesanas News

1st Group Visited, Spinning Week 2017, Huancarani

What to do with no 2018 Spinzilla for the Bolivian team Warmis Phuskadoras? Spinzillita (“Little Spinzilla”) is the answer! Doña Maxima, who has been the team captain the past 4 years, mentioned in a Skype call to PAZA that the team would like to spin during Spinning Week. The social aspects of Spinzilla Spinning Week are important to the weavers and by participating they have had skeins ready for the dye pots when the dye plants become abundant a few months later during the rainy season. The participants who spin but no longer weave have yarn to sell, which PAZA and the producing weavers snap up.

Group 2, Huancarani, 2017

Going through the annual routine of registering the participants, spinning during Spinzilla Week, having photo day in Huancarani, and measuring the results is an excellent learning opportunity for all involved. It will be Doña Maxima´s first opportunity to be 100% in charge without PAZA´s direct influence. The rural spinners are all famers and because Spinning Week falls during a lull in the agricultural calendar they are in the habit of happily dedicating the week to spinning and socializing.

Group 3, Huancarani, 2017

PAZA has estimated a budget of $400 for the local event, which includes 2 trips to Huancarani, extra wages, a trip to Cochabamba for Doña Maxima, and the annual prize for each participant. The budget for the annual prize will be between $3 and $5 per participant and one suggestion was for a mesh shopping bag. The prize is important as tangible recognition of the participants´ spinning skill and a reward for participating.

All Met at Soccer Field, Doña Narciza Had to Bring Her Goats, Spinzilla 2016

PAZA is working on securing a sponsor for Spinzilla 2019, who will be able to send a representative to Independencia with Dorinda for 2019 Spinning Week. Spinzilla would feel more “international” to the weavers if they could meet and interact with their TNNA sponsor. There has to be a TNNA member out there whose sponsorship of the Bolivian team will enhance their business while speaking to its mission and values.

Doñas Julia, Alicia, and Maxima, Spinning Week, Huancarani, 2015

Thanks, yet again, to Laverne Waddington who mentioned the weavings for sale on her blog, they literally flew out the door. All that is left in the U.S. inventory are more than 50 of the yoga mat straps and a few belts and guitar straps. Over half of the sales funds received were returned to Bolivia yesterday along with the next weaving order. Getting the weavings from Bolivia to Bozeman is a work in progress, but hopefully something will work out in time for holiday shopping. There will be another weaving order placed in January to ensure that the weavers have money to purchase school supplies when the academic year begins in February.

Group 1 Visited, Spinning Week, Huancarani, 2014

Doña Maxima continues to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays as the trainer for the Club de Artesanas. She has taught 2 young mothers in the neighborhood to weave. The Club members have been trying to draw locals into the PAZA store/workshop to purchase the bags made from cloth and backpack material they have been sewing to sell. They haven´t received many customers, but there is interest in the backpack design Vilma sewed and that her 8 year old daughter is carrying to school.

PAZA sent funds yesterday for the Club to purchase backpack material and sewing supplies so the women can sew and test designs. PAZA will continue to support the project for production of a few backpack designs for the next school year. The abysmal quality of the “made in China” children’s backpacks sold at the vendor stalls during market day is a crime against the mothers who are so challenged in finding the cash to pay for school supplies. There should be a local market for quality locally made backpacks and pencil bags created by the Club mothers with their and their children´s needs in mind.

Doñas Antonia, Casimira, and Maxima, Huancarani, 2014

PAZA has done no fundraising for activities since early in the year because of the transition of turning all management of the activities over to Doña Maxima. She is doing admirably. The Club activities continue and she´s organizing for Spinzillita with the rural weavers. She is preparing to manage the 2nd weaving order entirely on her own, which means she has nobody to fall back on if a weaving must be rejected due to inferior quality. PAZA activities average about $200 a month and the upcoming Spinzillita is budgeted at $400. PAZA activities in Independencia continue to move forward and the time has come to ask for financial assistance, please consider making a donation. Thank you. Dorinda Dutcher, July 31, 2018

Keeping the Momentum Going

Club de Artesanas Booth, 2015 with Veronica, Doña Maxima, and Zuni

Doña Maxima and the weavers in the Club de Artesanas (CdA) have been managing quite well since Dorinda’s departure from Independencia in mid-April. There was a flurry of activity prior to Independencia’s Feria de la Chirimoya (Harvest Fair) in May to make a variety of bags using material on which they’d cross-stitched or embroidered designs. That provided the Club´s vendor booth with some lower priced items alongside the traditional weavings for the local sales opportunity. Many of the Huancarani weavers were in town to exhibit and sell their chirimoyas (apple custards), mandarins, and avocados for the judging. Although the fruit sold well, the bags and weavings did not.

Doña Antonia (in pink) Exhibited Chimimoyas in Booth Next Door

The women continue to meet all day Tuesdays and Thursdays in their new workshop/store. It is a good location, so the Feria gave them some exposure as to the variety of goods offered for sale. PAZA continues to pay Doña Maxima a half day salary for 2 days a week, but their routine is set so they meet for the full day. Two young mothers who recently moved into the new nearby neighborhood joined the Club, learned to weave, and are waiting for their first order. Their first orders will be for yoga mat straps until Doña Maxima determines that they are ready to move onto the larger weavings. The Huancarani weavers are feeling a sense of abandonment, so PAZA will place an order at the end of July to reassure them and to keep up the momentum that took so many years to build.

Yoga Mat Straps

Please HELP! You can help PAZA by purchasing a weaving(s) from the U.S. inventory. That inventory is tying up 62% of PAZA´s revolving fund for the purchase of the weavings. There are 67 yoga mat straps in stock, so if you attend yoga classes please consider purchasing one for yourself and a few to give as gifts or to sell to yoga practicing friends. Weaving a yoga mat strap is the entry level for new weavers to realize that they have learned a skill that will help them pay for the expenses of raising their children. The sewing of the yoga mat straps pays Vilma, a single mother of 4, a per piece wage. The yoga mat straps are available in 2 sizes. The regular size is for a 1/8” thick yoga mat ($22) and the large size for a ¼” thick exercise mat ($23).

Weavings and Fajas Available for Purchase

Those of you who enjoy working with the hand spun natural dyed woven cloth to make your own creations will be pleased to know that there are 19 of the fajas ($38) (70” x 5” bands used in Laverne Waddington’s classes), 6 larger weavings ($68) which are 63” x 9.5”, and 12 straps ($18) which are 74” to 78” long and 1.5” wide available for purchase.

There are also pillow covers ($27-$35), guitar straps ($25), camera straps ($13), belts ($17), zippered pouches with ($17) and without wrist straps ($16), wallets ($16-$17), ch’uspitas ($17-$25) and 4 gorgeous ch’uspas (traditional shoulder bags at $65).

The Zippered Pouches are 5″ Wide x 8″ Long

Please e-mail your order inquires to Dorinda at dkdutcher@hotmail.com for item specifics, as each weaving is unique and there are no 2 items alike. Your order will help determine what should be included in the weaving order that will be given to Doña Maxima to distribute between the weavers at the end of this month.

Angelica´s Strap (right side), Maribel’s is 2nd from right

The last order to leave Independencia traveled to the U.S. with a former Peace Corps volunteer living with his family in Cochabamba. There was a surprise inside the box, and that was the first weaving order, a strap, woven by young Angelica. Angelica’s childhood is not a happy story, and a number of Huancarani weavers had tried to help her learn how to weave so she could earn money for herself and her younger siblings. PAZA gifted dyed skeins well over a year ago to that group effort. She is about 16 years old, with little education, and moved in with her partner’s family some months ago where she is blossoming. Twenty-one year old Maribel who has made enormous progress as a spinner and a weaver over the past 2 years brought Angelica to the PAZA store in early April and proudly explained the procedure for receiving weaving orders and completing them for payment. That strap in the box signifying a young woman from Huancarani living the farmer subsistence lifestyle had joined the community of weavers who are desperately trying to sustain their weaving tradition and care for their families in a cash economy sums up why PAZA was created in 2008 and why we have to keep this momentum going!

Maribel at Home, Huancarani

Thank you Lyn Lucas for your ongoing support in this time of transition as Doña Maxima takes over full responsibility for the Independencia activities and Dorinda supports the weavers from Bozeman, Montana. This should be the longest stretch between blog postings because PAZA´s long distance working relationship seems to be finding its stride.

A hug and thanks to Marian Leishman, Katie Simmons, and Kelsey Wiskirchen who have all helped manage the U.S. based weaving inventory through the years. Thank you Chris Behr for helping out with that last order, and hugs to you and your family. Dorinda Dutcher, July 15, 2018.

Preservation of a Weaving Tradition

Lizeth Learning to Warp, 2011

Preservation of their weaving tradition weighs heavy on Doña Máxima and the Huancarani weavers. Many of the ageing weavers taught their daughters as they were taught but only 2 have daughters who live in the area and weave today. The educated youth of the past few generations have fled to the cities upon graduation of high school to pursue more options in life then the brutally physical farmer subsistence lifestyle.

Today´s Club Chicas Learning to Play Scrabble

When PAZA began the Club de Chicas in 2010 the goal was to teach teens to weave. PAZA was selling at craft fairs in Cochabamba three times a year and the teens were motivated to weave to sell. None pursued the craft after high school graduation. The current chicas in the Club don´t even pretend to have an interest in learning to weave. Although many fiber arts and other skills have been taught by volunteers and visitors through the years to Club members and the weavers of Huancarani, the preservation of the weaving tradition remains one of PAZA´s 3 main objectives.

Doña Casirimira at Her Loom, 2010

Preserving the weaving tradition is reaching a critical point. Last month Doña Casimira, formerly a prolific weaver, declined an order confessing that she is no longer up to the physical demands of weaving. All is not lost! Doña Maxima has been approached by young mothers moving into the new neighborhoods springing up in Independencia who want to learn how to weave. The women are so young, semi-literate, de pollera (traditional skirt), and desperate for a means to earn an income to care for their kids. They have moved from their farms to a town that can offer them no work.

Doña Casimira may not be able to weave but she can teach and pass on her wealth of knowledge. PAZA is going to test a bonus program to encourage the master weavers to teach the young women. There will be a bonus paid to each master weaver who works with a younger woman to the point where the new weaver meets the required quality for the yoga mat straps.

Club Dye Day Last Week

The Club de Artesanas is going to undergo major changes to get back to its objective of helping the ageing weavers preserve their textile tradition. The current teen program will end on April 6th. The future changes will be 100% in the hands of Doña Maxima and the 3 remaining core members who are all weavers. They will divide their time between teaching weaving and working on a new product line of fiber arts products other than the traditional weavings that can be sold locally. If they lead, others will follow.

PAZA will continue to pay rent for workshop space evaluating regularly to be able to phase out as the entrepreneurial efforts of the women allow. The space is important because it is also a gathering place/refuge where the women can meet to talk, laugh, support each other, and cry. Doña Maxima will take over management and ownership of the equipment and supplies. Her wage will be reduced to 2 half days in part because the young mothers wanting to learn to weave can’t devote whole days or even whole mornings to attending. The wage reduction is also a compromise between motivation to spark her entrepreneurial streak and to keep the momentum going.

Breny and Don Enrique Modelling Poncho and Aguayo, 2009

These young mothers who are so desperate to find a means to care for their children can be the key to the sustainability of the weaving tradition. Making it all work will take the finesse of a Quechua speaking Bolivian professional. It is serendipity, that Breny Ugarte, who has worked with Doña Máxima and PAZA since 2008 came forth to say she will help because she has other work she will be doing in Independencia

Doña Narciza Weaving, 2014

All looks good on paper, but only time will tell how PAZA will evolve with 100% control of the Independencia activities being under Doña Maxima and the weavers. Future PAZA fundraising requests will only happen upon receipt and approval of funding needs from Doña Maxima, or if the bonus program breaks the bank. Dorinda hopes to return to Independencia for Spinzilla 2019 and to pick up weaving orders hopefully with the team´s new TNNA sponsor who has yet to claim that title. The weavings will continue to trickle to the U.S. thanks to friends traveling between Bolivia and the U.S. Help with sales especially the yoga mat straps is needed. The blog will continue with short monthly updates as to how all is progressing in Independencia, and expect the unexpected. The change is scary, but it will be incredibly empowering for so many rural Bolivian women. Thank you. Dorinda Dutcher, March 29, 2018

Fiber Arts February

Jhesica With a Water Color Portrait She Painted

Annual registration for the Club de Artesanas (CdA) is in February after the women and teens settle back into Independencia following Carnaval. The CdA chicas lost teen trainer Abigail who now lives with a family in the city providing child care part time and attending high school. Jhesica who will turn 16 this year has begun her second year as a teen trainer and was thrilled to receive a wage increase.  Each of the 3 teens from last year invited a younger friend to join and many bring young siblings so there is a lot of youthful exuberance on Saturdays.

Adviana & Her 2 Youngest During 2017 Spinning Week

The CdA women will miss Adviana who has been a devoted member since 2012. She and her family migrated to the city during the vacation. She entered the Club as a timid 17 year old mother and through the years she learned to weave and was completing orders regularly to earn income to care for her 3 little ones. It was mainly because of her that the waiting list was added so more spinners could enjoy Spinzilla Spinning Week in 2017. She begged to spin, but not being up to speed with the older women the wait list was implemented to accommodate and encourage her and 2 other young spinners. May her self confidence that grew through the years of CdA activities and with the support and friendship of the other Club women enable her to transition successfully to life in the city.

Surya, Teens & Their Siblings Posing with Printed T-Shirts

Club attendance was low in February because of women and teens spending much of the month in their rural communities. That allowed Surya, the visiting artist, to work one on one with Club members as well as with groups. Doña Máxima learned to embroider in primary school and on her first embroidered piece working with Surya she learned new stitches but her designs continued to be just outlines. On her second piece she made the leap to use newly learned stitches to fill in her designs and kept then kept stopping to admire and show off the results.

Dye Day Results

Surya taught two of the teens how to use the sewing machine, including using the instruction book as a resource when there is a question or problem. Nelva had finished a beaded embroidery piece under Suyra’s tutelage which she sewed into a bag. Veronica learned to sew by making a small shoulder bag with a button closure and a zippered pencil bag. The teens also learned about perspective in drawing and had fun with water colors. Suyra had brought all the supplies to teach screen printing and worked with the teens for 2 months ending with the final project of a printed t-shirt.

Surya at the Loom

The weavers of Huancarani began dropping off skeins to be dyed as rainy season is dye season. The Club held a dye day to take care of the accumulating skeins from the Huancarani weavers. The dye pot of suyku leaves produced light and dark greens skeins. Fresh turmeric root had been purchased from a sidewalk vendor in Cochabamba in October, and although roots were beginning to sprout once mashed up one dye pot of vibrant orange skeins was produced. The turmeric pot was mixed into the fifth dye bath of cochineal to dye skeins a rich dark orange.

Embroidery Projects… Notice Use of Weaving and Thrums on Surya’s Piece

Surya taught a batik workshop to Vilma and Doña Maxima and they experimented on cotton cloth, silk scarves, and cotton t-shirts with varying degrees of success. The leftover dye pot of the turmeric and cochineal was almost exhausted so further experimentation will take place with stronger dye pots on the upcoming dye days.

Doña Maxima´s 2nd Work with Filled-In Designs & Another of Suyra’s Fun Contemporary Pieces

Surya, is the second volunteer in 8 years to take advanced classes from Doña Maxima and complete a weaving on the loom. She is the first volunteer to weave the cloth, strap, and border to assemble a ch´upsita (small shoulder bag). It is surprising there are not more weavers who have visited to take classes with Doña Máxima to learn traditional Andean weaving techniques. Surya taught embroidery stitches and worked on her own pieces for an exhibition at the Kiosko Galería in Santa Cruz Bolivia beginning on March 15th. She cunningly incorporated an end piece of her weaving and used the thrums as embroidery threads, which was a tug of war with each one because of their rough texture. However, the results were stunning with the natural dyed wool blending together for a natural looking portrait.

Surya Explaining How Her Visit Influenced Her Art Which Will be Exhibited

The PAZA order that will be traveling to the U.S. the end of April is almost complete. It is a bit early to be without an order for the weavers, so any preorders for the woven cloth which are the fajas (70” x 5” bands, $38), weavings (63” x 9.5”, $68), zippered pouches ($16), zippered pouches with a wrist strap ($17), or yoga mat straps ($22/$23) will enable additional orders to be placed over the next 2 months. The sizing may seem odd, but the weavers work in centimeters not inches, well except for Doña Dionicia who at 86 years of age gets away with using hand spans instead of a measuring tape. The weavings that are 63” x 9.5” were sized to be cut up to make 6 zippered bags. If you need a different sized weaving for a project you may place a special order. Contact Dorinda at dkdutcher@hotmail.com for further information or to place an order. Dorinda Dutcher, February 27, 2018

The Weavings of February

Musicians in Bayeta Pants Sporting Chulos, Chuspitas, and Aguayos

There was just a week between the beginning of the academic year and returning to vacation mode for the week of Carnaval. The Independencia Carnaval parade and dance competition is the best time to view traditional weavings. The traditional clothing is loosely woven wool (bayeta cloth) pants for the men and polleras (skirts) for the women. Last July, when asked about what topics to include in the Tinkuy presentation the women of Huancarani began talking about bayeta and their youth that preceded purchased ready to wear clothing. The men constructed the looms and wove the cloth. The women spun cotton for the heddle strings, which was the only time they spun cotton. Finding an example of a loom to take photos has so far proven elusive because of the tradition of burning the possessions of an individual upon their death.

New Carnaval Entry, The Peaked Chulos are Not Local

The small chuspitas (shoulder bags) served as pockets for the men to carry coca leaf, which most still chew when working in the fields as well as being part of Andean rituals. The chuspitas for celebrations such as Carnaval are always woven with brightly dyed acrylic yarn often with embedded double weave designs on the bag and the strap. A few of the male musicians sported old fajas (belts) of double weave. The male musicians and female dancers all wore aguayos (square cloth for carrying loads on one’s back) and the majority of them appeared to be the 2 piece handwoven aguayos as opposed to the one piece inexpensive factory made aguayo. The competing rural communities had around 20 minutes to play the piercingly shrill music and dance in the plaza for the judges, authorities and spectators.

Warming Up to Strike

This year all were treated to a new entry. Five men walked into the plaza in traditional clothing playing instruments. One had a pile of purple, red, and pink dyed sheep skins on his back. Hmmmm, very curious….  After a short interview in Quechua with a radio reporter the man bearing the sheepskins hefted them onto his head. One of his companions unwound a coil of unskinned leather from his waist. It was like a whip except for the small basket woven onto the end containing rocks. After a few overhead lasso type swings the basket of rocks

The Strike

smacked into the sheepskins. When the rock slinger missed he took the sheepskins to protect his head so that his friend could demonstrate his skill aiming and striking with the rock ended whip. Slings were the preferred weapons of the Incas and today a braided llama fiber sling can usually be spotted in the waistband of a rural woman out pasturing her sheep. Doña Maxima remembers that when she was a girl in Huancarani  slings were one of the trade items that the highland traders would bring when they arrived with their llama trains to trade for corn.

With a Big Smile Doña Maxima Poses with Her Aguayo

During Carnaval week, Doña Maxima was thrilled to finally finish the aguayo she began 10 months ago in the hope that it would debut at the Tinkuy last November. The weaving was slow going and she lamented more than once that she wished she had begun with just one column of embedded double weave designs in each half instead of two. The photo shows the 4 columns of embedded double weave design with the decorative stitch that joins the two woven halves of the aguayo together. She learned the technique from her mother-in-law and sister-in-law when she moved into their house with her husband at age 16. She said they were a family of weavers and she felt obligated to improve her weaving to their level.

The 4 Columns of Embedded Double Weave

A local non-profit organization that had partnered with Independencia´s cultural center held their 1st Feria of Artesanía Nativa in the plaza last Sunday. In January free acrylic yarn was handed out through the Organizations of Women in many communities and the Feria was an exhibition and sales opportunity for the results of the weaving with that yarn. The brightly colored made in China yarn was considered “gold” when it first made its appearance and began replacing the handspun aniline dyed local wool. Now the bright happy colors are considered traditional for Carnaval and other celebrations so there is a local market. Four of the Huancarani weavers

Feria of Weavings with Acrylic Yarn, Doña Justina is Smiling at the Far Right

had a table including Doña Justina who went to the Tinkuy. Her sales technique on her home ground was much more animated and she was pleased to have sold a belt and a chulo (Andean knitted cap with ear flaps). One observation was the low number of participants which could be a stark indication of the dwindling number of rural weavers.

The non-profit organization had approached PAZA about collaborating, but there would have been an unrealistic expectation for PAZA to provide the market. Looking back on 11 years of sales and marketing successes and failures PAZA is wary of partnering with any organization lacking sales experience. It was heartening to see an effort being made locally to support the rural weavers. Dorinda Dutcher, February 26, 2018

Annual Meeting & Spinzilla Celebration

Hauling Meat Tray to the Oven

The annual Centro de Artesanía, Huancarani (CAH) meeting and Spinzilla Celebration were held outside under brooding clouds. Once again, Doña Toribia donated her wood burning oven and it was fired up before the contingent from Independencia arrived with the 49 pounds of beef cutlets, a first time veggie option, tomatoes, oil, condiments, and sodas for the feast.  Weavers arrived singly or in pairs dragging branches for firewood or with an aguayo filled with just harvested potatoes or onions. Doña Toribia donated iceberg lettuce for the salad which is rarely seen and never for sale in the Independencia market. All set about prepping the food and laying it in metal trays. Branches of the

Mudding the Wood Burning Oven Closed

th’ola shrub were cut and tied to a branch to sweep the oven´s brick bottom clear of ash. Potatoes were tossed inside, the trays were set on top of them, and the oven cover which had been fashioned from the end of a metal 55 gallon drum was sealed shut with mud.

The women settled on the ground for the annual CAH meeting with one eye on the rain falling in the mountains to the south. A new Board of Directors was elected, Doña Justina stepped down as President after 4 years of doing an excellent job of coordinating with PAZA for workshops, meetings, and Spinzilla activities. Twenty year old Maribel took over as Secretary, because she can read and write she will set an example for the future of that Board position. Two new members joined CAH and both are younger than the median age of 60 for the members.

2018 Annual CAH Meeting, Huancarani

The weavers voted to establish an “honorable member” category to waive the annual membership fee for elderly women who no longer spin or weave but enjoy the social occasions the CAH offers. Doña Teodora, who hasn´t woven in decades because of a poorly healed broken shoulder, was CAH´s first honorary member.The new CAH banner was unveiled and all declared it to be beautiful. The intent was to have it made in time to take to the Tinkuy, but the 2 piece pole was so long that it was impractical for travel. It will be marched around the soccer field in Huancarani in the civic day parades.

Doña Teodora with her Photogenic Smile

The vote was unanimous to continue competing in Spinzilla Spinning Week. They asked, “Why wouldn´t we? We spin almost every day anyway and we like winning a prize”. They voted to raise their registration fee 5 Bs. from $1.44 to $2.16 per participant.

The New CAH Banner

Time was spent discussing whether or not to raise the price of the weavings and a vote for a small increase was passed. Thanks to Laverne Waddington the fajas (4-1/2” x 71” bands) are gaining popularity with U.S. weavers who purchase them to design and cut up for their own projects. The 2018 price was raised from $35 to $38. The price for a kilo of handspun yarn went from $10 to $11.50.

Viewing the Tinkuy Photos

Doña Máxima and Doña Justina spoke about their Tinkuy experiences and photos were passed around. The women were able to put a face with the name they hear many times during Spinzilla and that person is Marilyn Murphy of Cloth Roads who has sponsored the Bolivian team for 4 years. There were also photos of Doña Máxima and Doña Justina presenting thank you weavings to longtime supporters Lyn Lucas and Dorothy Thursby. The photo of Karen Sprenger at the exhibition table with Doña Justina and Doña Maxima was appropriate because she´s been instrumental in helping with sales of the inventory stored in Kansas.

Doña Narciza Receives Her Shawl and Spinzilla Photo

The meeting adjourned and the moment all had been waiting for arrived with the handing out of the shawls, the 2017 Spinzilla prize for all participants. Doña Máxima and her daughter Zoraida had selected and purchased the cloth in Cochabamba. The material was divided between Zoraida and the CdA members so they could earn a wage by crocheting the borders and adding fringe, thus personalizing each shawl. Unfortunately, a group photo was not taken because the wind picked up and the clouds had darkened.

The 1 hour and 40 minute meeting coincided with the exact time needed for all to be pulled out of the oven cooked to perfection. Many of the women bagged up their meal and headed home hoping to stay ahead of the rain. The meal was a hurried affair as the rain rolled implacably towards the group. In the end all scurried to clean up and head home. Doña Narciza commented a few weeks later that the new shawls came in handy as a warm layer against the cold rain for her and her neighbors who had a long trek home. Thanks again to everyone who supported the Bolivian Spinzilla team! Dorinda Dutcher, January 8th, 2018

Kicking Off The Year With Arts & Crafts

Embroidering, Drawing, and Painting with Surya

Embroidering, making piñatas, drawing, water coloring, and the Fiesta de Don Jorge made for a busy January for the Club de Artesanas (CdA). Under the tutelage of artist-in-residence, Suyra de Wit, the CdA women, teens, and kids were all thrilled to spend the 2nd month of the school vacation busily occupied with art projects. The first project Surya introduced was embroidering a design of choice. The embroidery of flowers as a required project at the local primary school has been replaced by fabric painting. The 3 girls completed their embroidery and with help from Suyra made small shoulder bags to showcase their work. The teens chose to use beads from the jewelry making kit to embroider their designs. The intent focus of the 2 boys over their embroidery hoops was a surprise. Doña Maxima commented that she liked the textural possibilities by combining known embroidery stitches with the new stitches she learned from Surya.

3 Happy Girls with New Bags

Preparation for the Fiesta de Don Jorge began a week prior to the annual all day party. Three Club families had birthdays during the month so a total of 4 piñatas were made. The layering of the paper mache over the balloons went quickly because it was the 2nd year of piñata making. Thanks to Surya’s help, the fringe decor was an improvement over last year. PAZA provided for the piñata filling which included toothbrushes and pencils along with the sweet and salted treats.

Making the Piñatas

On the day of the Fiesta the library and workshop overflowed with everybody working on masks and crowns. Lunch was everybody´s favorite festive dish, “Pique Macho”. Piping hot French Fries are piled with bite-size chunks of meat and sausage in a savory sauce. The diner adorns his or her heaping plate of yumminess with hard-boiled egg, onion, tomato, chilies, and in the kids case a lot of ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise.

Fiesta de Don Jorge 2018

Doña Máxima and Vilma peeled and cut up 13 pounds of potatoes with knives – peelers and cutting boards are not local culinary techniques. Doña Máxima headed to the outdoor cooking lean-to to start a fire for frying the potatoes and Vilma headed indoors to cook the meat on the gas range. There was a bit of a lull after the meal. Everyone rallied for games and worked up an appetite so they could enjoy the 3 layer chocolate and lime birthday cake. Don Jorge will turn 88 in February and hopefully the photos and best wishes will reach his Kansas mailbox this year.

Jhesica Sharing Her Work with Veronica

Saturday mornings were reserved for the teens to work on their drawing skills. Surya is a portrait artist and noted that they had not learned to sketch a big picture but focused on small details. She started the classes with timed drawings of self-portraits, followed by instruction, and ended the class by letting the teens watercolor for their enjoyment. Surya’s work may be viewed at www.suryadewit.net.

On Sunday the 14th an emergency meeting of the Centro de Artesanía, Huancarani (CAH) was called at the PAZA workshop. A new President needed to be elected to replace Doña Cirila who did not meet the requirement of being a member for 2 years. She took it upon herself to go in search of the CAH members in town for market day and managed to gather up a quorum of 14. Her mother, a founding member, won the election and hesitantly took on the responsibility after Doña Cirila promised to help her. Maribel, Secretary and the youngest CAH member, ran the meeting as the most senior Board member. It is heartening to observe younger members taking an active role in the organization.

Waiting for Quorum of Weavers to Gather

The school year begins on February 5th, and that means high stress for mothers to come up with the cash to purchase school supplies. PAZA always has a weaving order so the weavers can count on income in February. During the last 3 Sundays in January most of the active weavers stopped by the PAZA workshop inquiring or dropping off an order. Doña Eulalia sighed as she commented on the ever increasing list of school supplies as her 4 children move through primary into secondary school. The weavings will be in the U.S. the end of April and need to be sold to keep the PAZA rotating fund for the weaving orders rotating. Thanks to the use of the weavings in Laverne’s Waddington’s workshops PAZA sales have changed from a myriad of products of our design to selling the cloth for you to design and cut for your own creations. The fajas (traditionally belts) are 70”x4.5”, wider weavings that we use to make the zippered pouches are 63”x9.5”, and straps (size used for the yoga mat straps) are 74”x1.5” or a bit longer at 78”x1.5”. There will also be zippered pouches, yoga mat straps, and a few ch’uspas (shoulder bags). Inquires can be sent to dkdutcher@hotmail.com.

Thank you Dorothy Thursby and Susan Long for kickstarting 2018 with your continued support of the weavers and teens.  Dorinda Dutcher, January 28, 2018

Tinkuy 2017 Report

Readying for the Tinkuy Inauguration Parade

Congratulations to Nilda Callañaupa, the Tinkuy International Weaving Conference Organizing Committee, the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco (CTTC) weavers, and all the Tinkuy volunteers for creating an incredible 4 day textile extravaganza. All 5 senses reeled under the color, movement, texture, and sounds of Tinkuy 2017. Wow! It is still impossible to summarize coherently but references to the Tinkuy will be ongoing because there was so much information relevant to PAZA´s activities and idea possibilities for the future.

Doña Maxima in the Spinning Competition

Doña Maxima and Doña Justina loved their hands on experiences that included the spinning competition, giving their weaving/knitting demonstration, and taking the workshops. For life-long weavers, both found the advanced backstrap weaving class and the chinchilla border class challenging. The 17 minute presentation they were to give was the last presentation before the closing ceremony, so the burden of that upcoming event was carried throughout the conference. Doña Máxima and Doña Justina marched up to the stage, faced the large crowd, and stoically gave their presentation, “Stories of the Traditional Weavings of Independencia, Bolivia”. The English translation was a disappointment,

Doña Maxima Weaving and Doña Justina Knitting at Their Technique Demo

but there are probably only a handful in all of Cusco who could translate Quechua to English. The 5 months of research to put together the presentation led to some intriguing questions that will be fun to investigate and report on in future blogs. The women spoke in Quechua which was understood by the majority of the audience who were the hosting Quechua speaking CTTC weavers. It was a thoughtful way to end the 4 days of presentations.

There were numerous anticipated meetings between the Bolivian weavers and long-time PAZA supporters. The weavers met Lyn Lucas and David Anderson who were PAZA´s first supporters in 2010. Doña Máxima who has been the Spinzilla Cloth Roads Warmis Phuskadoras team captain for 4 years and Doña Justina who coordinates Spinzilla activities in Huancarani finally met sponsor Marilyn Murphy. Dorothy Thursby who has been an ongoing supporter of PAZA renewed her acquaintance with Doña Máxima from the 2013 Tinkuy. Katie Simmons who has been to Independencia 4 times and helped in the 2013 Tinkuy trip to Cusco was a welcome familiar face. Teena Jennings, WARP member and longtime supporter, met the weavers and introduced her husband and daughter who had

On Stage
(Photo Credit: David Anderson)

accompanied her. Prior to this trip Doña Justina who turned 60 this year had never been anywhere that wasn´t to visit family and on those trips she was always accompanied by family. The weavers met Karen Sprenger who lives near Dorinda´s parents in Kansas and has promoted the weavings in the local fiber community. As Doña Máxima chatted with Deborah Chandler in Spanish she was unaware that Deborah is the go-to person for advice when PAZA hits a snag in the road.

There have been many comments about Doña Máxima´s unsmiling countenance. It is cultural. For years she has been able to look through the PAZA photos to select those of herself and her family for developing. She never selects photos where she is smiling, she says they are ugly.

Karen Sprenger with the Weavers. All Weavings are in Kansas and are Available to Buy.

Dorinda has gifted many “happy face” photos to Doña Máxima who graciously accepts them, but who knows what she does with them when she gets home. The expression that should have been captured on film was Doña Maxima´s beatific smile when she walked off of the airplane in Cochabamba into the arms of her daughter, son, and 2 granddaughters. The smiles and tears of joy and relief on the faces of Doña Máxima´s family and Doña Justina´s 2 daughters and grandson would have made you cry. They were so happy and relieved to have their mothers safely home.

The inventory of weavings in the U.S. is building up, and that slows down PAZA´s rotating fund for placing and purchasing orders with the weavers. ‘Tis the season… Weaving a yoga mat strap is where a beginning weaver starts weaving to earn income, although all the weavers weave them. If there is a yogi on your holiday shopping list the yoga mat straps for a 1/8” thick sticky mat are $21 and for the ¼” thick exercise mat the price is $22.

Yoga Mat Straps on Models Shannon Dutcher & David Whetzel

Is there a weaver on your gift giving list who would delight in hand spun, natural dyed cloth with Andean motifs to use for her own projects? The fajas are bands of cloth 67” x 4.5” and cost $35, larger weavings PAZA uses for making the zippered pouches are 63” x 9.5” and are $64. The 75” x 1.5” straps are $19. The lined zippered pouches are $15 and $16 with a wrist strap. There are dress/tunic sashes measuring 60” x 2.5” for $35. Also available are chuspas in a variety of sizes and priced accordingly.

All the weavings have a story, and that´s what makes them such special gifts. Orders will be accepted until December 14th, with the last shipping date on December 15th. Contact Dorinda at dkdutcher@hotmail.com.

Thank you Lyn Lucas and David Anderson, I hope it´s not another 7 years before our paths cross again! Thank you lifelong friend Geoff Folker for your support last month. Another thank you is in order for the P.J. Broderick Memorial Foundation whose support made it possible to attend the Tinkuy. Thank you everyone who has supported the Bolivian weavers, teens, and kids this year.  Wishing you the warmth of joy and laughter with family and friends this holiday season. Peace on Earth. Dorinda Dutcher, December 3, 2017

Spinzilla Spinning Week in Huancarani

Doñas Maxima, Justina, & Vilma Spinning with the 1st Group Visited

Since 2014, the Wednesday of Spinzilla Spinning Week is spent taking photos in Huancarani and checking in with the majority of the Cloth Roads team Warmis Phuskadoras who live in that rural community. Each year it is more fun, probably because the spinners have come to realize that Spinning Week offers social opportunities just for them without added responsibilities or work. Fiestas and civic day celebrations involve cooking for a big crowd and then cleaning up.

Maribel Spinning at Home, Daniel Eating la Cayote Squash

A small pickup truck was contracted and driven by Don Julio, Doña Máxima´s husband. Besides driving he provided the community service of collecting signatures for paperwork that will be submitted to the national government for disaster relief from crop damage due to hail and wind last March. Doña Justina was waiting by the turn onto the new “road” leading to the north side of the community. Somehow she managed to effortlessly spin with her phuska (drop spindle) packed into the backseat with Vilma, Dorinda, bags, and stuffed aguayos. Don Julio parked on a grassy flat that offered a spectacular mountain view. Spinners were spotted walking and spinning from 4 different directions, except for Doña Julia who carried her phuska in one hand and a bowl of potatoes, eggs, noodles, and lettuce to offer the visitors. The spinners spun, and some of their husbands arrived to meet with Don Julio.

The 2nd Group Visited

Doña Andrea, who is competing for the first time since 2014, is the mother-in-law of Maribel, the youngest Huancarani weaver. Maribel is waitlisted for Spinning Week so although her name was not submitted to Spinzilla she is competing for the first time as a team member locally. Doña Andrea is Don Julio´s sister and she invited the visitors to their home a few steps away. It is rare that an opportunity arises to visit one of the rural farmsteads. The visitors were treated to a bowl of la cayote, a huge squash, that is normally undercooked and lacking in flavor. Doña Andrea had simmered the squash over a low fire all day the day before releasing the sugar which gave it a sweet delicate flavor with a hint of cinnamon. Yum!

The Hen Leading the Sheep, Goats, Dogs, & Spinners

The visitors headed back to the main Huancarani road and stopped half a mile above the community center of school, church, soccer field, and an irregularly staffed health post. Doña Ines with her youngest, Doña Casimira, and Doña Verna were sitting in a picturesque field chatting and spinning. As soon as the visitors made their way to the group Doña Toribia and Doña Eulogia came up behind them herding Doña Toribia´s mixed flock of goats and sheep. The odd thing was that a plump red hen of Doña Eulogia´s was leading the parade apparently unconcerned about the large mammals following close behind. Doña Eulogia´s daughter Doña Cirila arrived, she recently returned to Huancarani after years in the city and is competing for the first time. Don Julio took over keeping the flock from scattering so the women could chat and spin.

Following Doña Justina to Meet the 3rd Group

All too soon it was time to move on. Doña Máxima and Vilma wanted to walk to the next and last stop so they could spin. Doña Verna enjoying the opportunity to socialize joined the group for the walk. Doña Justina led the way down the mountainside past farmsteads, fields waiting to be sown, and a flowering field of potatoes. Unfortunately, yodeling is unknown in the Andes because it would have served well in the search for the third group of spinners. Doña Justina spotted a bit of color and the group headed left down a path where they found Doña Eulogia sitting peacefully on a large boulder spinning but keeping an eye on her goats who ranged down a wooded draw and up the other side. Doña Francisca arrived, it was her birthday and she was in high form with

Where is the 3rd Group?

jokes that kept all laughing. Doña Dionicia arrived with 2 plates of food to share with the visitors, which was the signal for all to plop to the ground, put down their phuskas, take the aguayos off their backs, and pull out plates of boiled corn and cheese or boiled potatoes, noodles, and fried egg for a communal lunch. The visitors had brought soft drinks, juice, and water that were served at each stop and much appreciated on this hot sunny day.

Last to arrive were Doña Antonia Calcina and Doña Julia with their flocks of sheep. Doña Julia is spinning on the waitlist this year because she couldn´t decide whether she had the energy to compete or not. They spun with the group and chatted for a bit then headed further afield with their flocks. It was a perfect day!

The 3rd Group Chatting and Joking

Spinzilla is more fun every year while offering learning and problem solving experiences for the women as individuals and as a group. A one-time experience would not be enough to make any impact on their lives, so with that in mind thank you to those who have supported the team and PAZA for multiple years! Thank you Kris Fister, Dorothy Thursby, Patty Tompkins, Margaret Tyler, and Linda Switzer for your continued support! We have reached our goal to meet the Spinzilla expenses.

Now, a true confession…. I could not do justice to the incredible photo opportunities to document the disappearing lifestyle of the Huancarani spinners. We have not had a social media volunteer the past 2 years and it is obvious when comparing the quality and content of the 4 years of Spinzilla photos. We have also not made a short Spinzilla documentary since 2015. It would be wonderful for all involved to have a fiber artist volunteer with photography skills join us next year! Dorinda Dutcher, October 5, 2017