Volunteers

Measuring Yarn in Huancarani

Taking a Break From Selling Potatoes, Photo Credit: Shelby Deaton

Taking a Break From Selling Potatoes, Photo Credit: Shelby Deaton

The measuring of the yarn spun during Spinzilla spinning week began Sunday evening, with the measuring of the yarn of the 5 Independencia based spinners and 2 Huancarani spinners. Doña Julia and Doña Antonia had traveled from Huancarani in the back of a cargo truck on Saturday to sell their potatoes at Sunday´s market. Late Sunday morning they dropped by the PAZA store/workshop to leave their balls of yarn for measuring and asked if PAZA would buy it. Doña Julia said she had plenty of spun yarn to weave her next project, a poncho for her son, and the sales of her potatoes wasn´t going well. She was going to lower the already low price of the potatoes from $2.15 to $1.45 per 25 pounds in hopes of selling out in time to catch the truck back to Huancarani. PAZA purchased the yarn at $10 a kilo, which is double the local price. The yarn is dyed on Club de Artesanas dye days (local plants and cochineal) and sold to the weavers. Twenty-eight cents is added to the cost of the yarn per skein for the dyeing.

Doña Antonia Measuring While Maribel Records

Doña Antonia Measuring While Maribel Records

Doña Máxima did an excellent job of arranging transportation and planning for the measuring with the spinners in the communities of Huancarani and Sanipaya. She, Doña Antonia, Dorinda, and volunteer Shelby made up the measuring team. The back of the contracted pickup truck was loaded with a wooden table with measurement marks, plastic chairs, low wooden stools, plastic buckets for holding the balls of yarn being measured, and beverages for all. The measuring for 11 spinners took place on the porch of the church and a pew was used as a 3rd measuring station. Each spinner rewound their yarn into a ball as it was passed by the woman measuring who called out “cinco” or “marca” to the recorder after every 5 yards measured. Maribel, who was in PAZA´s Club de Artesanas before moving to Huancarani arrived with her baby and sister-in-law to lend a hand with the recording.

Doñas Felicidad, Justina, and Toribia Waiting to Measure

Doñas Felicidad, Justina, and Toribia Waiting to Measure

Spinners who arrived early ceded their place to those who arrived later but had left unattended sheep or goat herds nearby. Those who could linger did so enjoying the opportunity to socialize. The measuring began at 9:30am, and the measuring team was homebound at 2:30, having taken time out for 2 lunches provided by the spinners.

Doña Eulalia and Doña Narciza both have goat herds, so they were queried about where they had purchased their fleece. They said that traders pass through and trade sheepskins for dried corn kernels. Doña Justina said she´d traded for a black sheep skin and divided the fleece with Doña Casimira. The sheep skin cost each woman 25 pounds of corn kernels. Doña Justina said she filled 11 drop spindles with spun yarn from her half.

Doña Casimira was the Top Ranked Spinner

Doña Casimira was the Top Ranked Spinner

Doña Casimira spun 4,680 yards and was the top ranking spinner in this year´s contest. She is twice widowed and her 4 children have migrated. Last year she tried to live in the tropical area of the state of Cochabamba with her daughter, but that didn´t last long. She doesn´t have any livestock and is between sowing and harvesting on her land. Her spinning was fine and care had to be taken not to break a strand while measuring her heaviest ball.

Sorting Out Snarled Yarn

Sorting Out Snarled Yarn

All but 1 of the Independencia based spinners ranked low on the team. Doña Paulina spends long hours each day selling vegetables in the Independencia market. There isn´t much activity during the week, so she was probably glad to pass the day spinning. Doña Máxima´s daughter Vilma, at age 26 and mother of 4, was the youngest of the spinners. She learned to spin as a girl when the family lived in Huancarani. Doña Máxima was pleased and surprised that Vilma´s spinning was not as she remembered, but fine and consistent. Vilma is one of the top producing PAZA weavers, and usually purchases skeins through PAZA.

Dorinda Reads Comments While Using World May

Dorinda Reads Comments While Using World May

Time for hand spinning is harder to fit into the town lifestyle. Doña Máxima, the team captain, was disappointed in her yardage total which was lower than in 2014, but happier with the quality.

After the measuring a world map was laid on the table to show the spinners where supporters and other participants live. The comments that accompanied the donations to support the team were read. The idea of having “sister” spinners around the world brought smiles, and the discussion will carry on through the year. The gathering broke up and the women headed in various directions, many of them spinning as they walked away. Dorinda Dutcher, October 12, 2015

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Mid-Spinning Week Check In

Doñas Julia, Alicia, and Team Captain Doña Máxima

Doñas Julia, Alicia, and Team Captain Doña Máxima

Spinzilla spinning week provides rare social occasions for the rural Andean women. Their days are normally spent lost in solitary thought as the spin following the meandering route of their grazing sheep or goats.

Team captain Doña Máxima had arranged with the Huancarani spinners to meet in 1 of 4 locations on Wednesday morning. She along with her daughter and team member Vilma, Dorinda, and Shelby Deaton a social media volunteer climbed into a contracted pickup truck to check in with the Huancarani spinners.

Horses Had the Day Off, Note Use of Weaving

Horses Had the Day Off, Note Use of Weaving

The first stop was several miles off the main dirt road that leads to the center of the community (school, Catholic Church, soccer field, and unmanned health post). Doña Julia and Doña Alicia came out from their homes spinning as they walked. Doña Máxima´s aged mother-in-law and her husband were sacking up bags of gravel and sand that a dump truck had left alongside the road. They planned to move what they needed on horseback to their home a ½ mile away for the workers who were contracted by a government development project to build outhouses at each home. The visitors and driver all looked at one another and began loading the back of the pickup, including the filled bags the elderly couple couldn´t lift.

Sisters, Doñas Máxima & Doña Narciza

Sisters, Doñas Máxima & Doña Narciza

Doña Máxima and Vilma spun and chatted with the other 2 spinners while photos were snapped. The rules were reviewed and the plan for meeting in the soccer field to measure the spun yardage on Monday was discussed. The final bit of business was to have the 2 local spinners select the color and state the size for the sweater they will be awarded for participating in Spinzilla. Doña Máxima had brought along a variety of colored markers which the women used to make their color selection.

Doña Máxima and Daughter Vilma Applying Leaves for Pain Relief

Doña Máxima and Daughter Vilma Applying Leaves for Pain Relief

The next stop was to unload the gravel and sand for the outhouse project, then walk next door to visit Doña Narciza who is Doña Maxima´s sister and the top producing weaver. She was also the fastest spinner of the spinners queried, having filled 6 drop spindles. Because she has goats she was asked where she had procured her fleece. She said she was very pleased with the length of the fiber on the sheep skins she´d purchased from a butcher in Independencia. Doña Máxima had made a beeline upon arrival to the Tartaku (Riscinus comunis L.) bushes beside her sister´s house to pluck a number of the huge red-veined leaves. She wet the leaves in a metal tub which was filled by a trickle from a hose running downhill from a spring. She and Vilma applied the wet leaves to their shoulders to ease the growing aches from their days of spinning. There was just time for a few minutes of chatting and communal spinning before it was time to move on.

Spinners: Doña Antonia Calcina and Doña Felicidad

Spinners: Doña Antonia Calcina and Doña Felicidad

The truck bumped along on its way back to the main road and then to the next stop below the center of the community. Doña Julia and her next door neighbor, Doña Dionicia, were waiting with their flocks. They spun, chatted, and picked out the color for their sweaters. Doña Julia said she plans to sell her sheep after Christmas and devote more time to weaving. Her son, who is a doctor, requested a poncho, which she will weave with the yarn she is spinning. She´d also plans to weave to sell through PAZA. Doña Antonia and Doña Felicidad were waiting on the other side of the road, and they spun and chatted with Doña Máxima and Vilma. Doña Felicidad said she would be weaving ch´uspas (shoulder bags) with the yarn she was spinning to sell through PAZA.

Spinning with Joy, Photo Credit: Shelby Deaton

Spinning with Joy, Photo Credit: Shelby Deaton

The sun was merciless, and it was a relief to find the last gathering of women sitting in the shade of eucalyptus trees. Their combined flocks of sheep were spread out in a field behind them. Doña Eulalia´s herd of goats were out of sight and hopefully didn’t wander as far as they did during the last meeting. Doña Máxima and Vilma joined the group and their drop spindles began to whirl. All the spinners were spinning to weave PAZA orders. There were a lot of smiles and a lot of laughter. There was joy. The main comments throughout the day were expressions of happiness to know that there were spinners around the world spinning with them.

Shelby

Shelby

The spinners are very appreciative of the support through Spinzilla that enabled them to participate and that made the week so special for them. They enjoyed the comments from other spinners which is a beginning in understanding that there is a larger fiber arts world outside of their isolated valley.

Shelby will be putting together a short mix of photos and video of Spinzilla 2015 in Bolivia to share via U-tube with all who are interested. We were pleased to be granted permission to use the delightful folkloric music of the musical group, “Sacambaya” whose founder is from Independencia. Its availability will be announced via the Ravelry thread soon. Thank you, Shelby, for everything! Dorinda Dutcher, October 9, 2015

Ruraq Maki Visits Independencia

Amanda Working With the CdA Teens and Women

Amanda Working With the CdA Teens and Women

The Club de Artesanas (CdA) activity focus in September was learning new jewelry making techniques. Amanda Smiles, founder of Ruraq Maki, made her annual 4 day journey to Independencia from Ayacucho Peru where Ruraq Maki (RM) offers craft training workshops to incarcerated women in the Yanamilla Prison. It was her 4th year teaching wire jewelry making techniques and working with Doña Máxima as the local trainer. The 4 new chicas in the Club had looked forward to Amanda’s arrival with increasing anticipation. The earrings they´d not sold at the Harvest Fair last May were reviewed and praised by Amanda. She showed all the jewelry makers how to correct a few minor flaws in their workmanship.

Doña Máxima Modeling a Yoga Mat Strap

Doña Máxima Modeling a Yoga Mat Strap

Ruraq Maki has helped with the product design of the traditional weavings over the past 5 years. The yoga mat straps were Amanda´s idea during a brainstorming session in 2012. The yoga mat straps and zippered cosmetic bags began being assembled in-house last year thanks to the industrial sewing machine funded by Ruraq Maki. Additional training is needed to tackle the larger lined fashion bags. PAZA is searching for a Quechua speaking sewing instructor to teach a series of short intensive workshops in Independencia. PAZA needs help to get the yoga mat straps into the hands of yoga practitioners. The hope is that a climb in sales will allow PAZA to get the word out encouraging more weavers to weave and teens to learn to weave.

CdA Dye Day

CdA Dye Day

Doña Juana, the newest CdA member, was introduced to the magic of cochineal during a Club dye day. She´s already sold her first weaving, a yoga mat strap, to Ruraq Maki. She lacks natural dyed yarn for the weavings PAZA sells, so had handspun enough wool for 8 skeins to take advantage of PAZA´s upcoming dye days. A few of the Huancarani weavers had sent skeins to the CdA for dyeing. All requested an orange dye, which was easily done with the addition of citric acid to a cochineal dye bath.

Doña Juana admiring her cochineal dyed skeins

Doña Juana admiring her cochineal dyed skeins

The cochineal PAZA uses was purchased from Potosí Bolivia through PAZA´s natural dye trainer. He had the cochineal lab tested and the highland Potosí cochineal had a higher carminic acid percentage than the cochineal from Cochabamba (local). PAZA´s first purchase of cochineal in 2009 cost $14.50 a kilo, and luckily the 5 kilos purchased held out through the rise in pricing to $86.50 a kilo in 2010. When the next purchase was needed the price had dropped to $36 a kilo. Rumor had it the spike in pricing was due to the demand of the food and drug industry for an organic colorant. Perhaps the demand diminished when consumers discovered the organic colorant was a bug, or they may have found the distinctive odor off-putting.

Doñas Máxima and Beatris, Measuring Day in Sanipaya, 2014

Doñas Máxima and Beatris, Measuring Day in Sanipaya, 2014

Club member, Doña Beatris, who spends the majority of her time in her rural community of Sanipaya, was able to participate in the dye day. She sells weavings to PAZA regularly and is doing a great job in organizing the 8 spinners in Sanipaya who will be competing in the Spinzilla spinning competition. Six of the spinners are entering for the first time and will have a better understanding of the competition after spinning week. Doña Máxima will visit to measure the yardage of spun wool and resolve the lingering doubts of why it costs the spinners $2.15 each to participate. Please consider donating to support the Spinzilla Team Cloth Roads/Warmis Phuskadoras so the event doesn´t financially impact the other PAZA activities.

RM Tote Modeled by Adviana, the Weaver

RM Tote Modeled by Adviana, the Weaver

The soap making project began anew. The 3rd recipe for basic soap was made using a new recipe that includes cocoa butter and vegetable oil along with the rendered tallow that was the only fat used in previous batches. The cocoa butter was purchased in the U.S., although an effort will be made to find a Bolivian source since cocoa is harvested in the Amazon area of the country. Although coconut trees grow in Bolivia, coconut oil is outrageously expensive, so it´s possible there is no processing done in Bolivia. Such possibility, such poverty, ah, Bolivia….

Thanks to the ongoing support of WARP members Lyn, Susan, and Dorothy and new PAZA supporter Jeane PAZA can offer a variety of Club activities hoping that they will spark entrepreneurial interest for income generating activities for the teens and women. The weekly activities also allow for the continued documentation of an ancient culture in transition. Dorinda Dutcher, September 18, 2015

August in Independencia

CdA Chicas Making Lanterns for Parade

CdA Chicas Making Lanterns for Parade

Volunteer José Sánchez ended his visit as Michelle Burdette began hers with the festivities of August 6th which is Bolivia´s Independence Day. The fun began with a lantern parade the evening of the 5th. The following day, José stayed in Independencia at the invitation of the graduating class who he had helped design and paint the map of Bolivia they marched through the streets. Michelle and I headed to Huancarani at the invitation of Doña Máxima to experience Independence Day in a rural community.

Mayors Leading Parade, Doña Màxima´s Husband Wearing Her Weavings is in Center

Mayors Leading Parade, Doña Màxima´s Husband Wearing Her Weavings is in Center

The authorities set up the podium then herded everybody up the hill above the soccer field to march back down. The 3 mayors led the parade with their tin staff of office in hand. Each was attired in a poncho and ch’upsa (shoulder bag to hold the ceremonial coca leaf) their wives had woven this year. Behind the mayors marched their families, the Organization of Women led by CdA member Doña Antonia who is the current President, the Organization of Men, a few Cochabamba based youths who returned for the holiday, and a small group of

The Authorities Seated to View the Program

The Authorities Seated to View the Program

school children. The procession circled the soccer field than stood at attention at the podium for the national anthem and speeches.
The program continued with folkloric dances by the children in creatively constructed costumes and a feast. A sheep had been butchered and potatoes and fava beans were cooked in the communal wood burning oven at the school. We left before the

Doña Màxima Wore Her New Aguayo with the Embedded Double Weave

Doña Màxima Wore Her New Aguayo with the Embedded Double Weave

feasting, and Doña Máxima reported that the festivities went on until 3am in the morning. She thoroughly enjoyed the 2 days she spent in her home community. The opportunity to participate in a celebration there had eluded her for over 12 years.

Michelle and the Chicas Taking a Selfie

Michelle and the Chicas Taking a Selfie

Michelle´s University of Akron professor who is a WARP member and longtime PAZA supporter challenged Michelle with linking her Club de Artesanas (CdA) workshops to her millinery internship. Michellebrought quilt squares, thread, buttons, and headscarf patterns.She and Doña Máxima spent half a day working together to sew the headscarves that the women and chicas adorned with bows and pom-poms. The women enjoyed adorning the headscarves and the chicas were over the moon. The chicasare easily spotted in the streets with their colorful headscarves woven through their long dark braids.

The REsults of Michelle´s Classes

The REsults of Michelle´s Classes

PAZA wishes to thank José and Michelle for all their contributions to the CdA and the community.
The Spinzilla Spinning Week is just a month away and we still lack a volunteer to make the short documentary and a volunteer to manage the social media. The Spinzilla expenses are not yet funded. Last year the expenses were $600.
Thank you Lyn Lucas and Dorothy Thursby-Stern for your continued support that has helped keep the CdA activities moving forward.

Joel Joins the Chicas for Snack Time

Joel Joins the Chicas for Snack Time

Joel Cachi skipped kindergarten and plunged into first grade last February thanks to the medical evaluation paid for by PAZA supporters. He couldn’t register without submitting the evaluation results.PAZA raised $2,200 for the medical evaluations following his surgery to have brain tumors removed in 2013. Joel and his father traveled to Cochabamba in late June for the final evaluation. His father reported that there are no further signs of tumors and Joel should recover completely. Joel’s family has asked that their appreciation of your support be conveyed again. Thank you!Two of his sisters are CdA members, and Joel often joins us around snack time. Dorinda Dutcher, August 22, 2015

Call for Spinzilla Volunteers and Support

Jonathan McCarthy Photo, Spinzilla 2014

Jonathan McCarthy Photo, Spinzilla 2014

The Spinzilla Team WarmisPhuskadoras will be competing in their second spinning competition, which will take place between October 5th and 11th. Spinning is an integral part of the vanishing farmer subsistence lifestyle in the Andes, so documenting Spinzilla spinning week is much more than just filming the spinning event.

Doña Narciza and Jonathan Share a Laugh

Doña Narciza and Jonathan Share a Laugh

Last year PAZA friend Jonathan McCarthy volunteered to spend a week filming in Independencia and Huancarani. He edited the footage to produce a short 4 minute film that was available on U-Tube a few days after spinning week. PAZA is looking for 2 volunteers to assist with this year’s spinning week. One volunteer is needed to produce a short documentary. The ability to capture the spirit of the Andean campo is more important than filming expertise. A second volunteer who could manage the social media communications and assist in measuring the spun yardage would be an enormous help for us.The visit will include day trips to the rural communities of Huancarani and Sanipaya offering a rare glimpse into the lives of the weavers and their ancient Andean weaving tradition.

Measuring Handspun Yardage in Sanipaya, 2014

Measuring Handspun Yardage in Sanipaya, 2014

Although this is a specific volunteer request, PAZA is always in need of volunteers wishing to offer needle arts technical assistance. Help to improve sewing skills is a current priority. Volunteers can arrange to learn Andean weaving skills from Doña Máxima. There is a nominal charge for the volunteer program which goes towards the sustainability of the PAZA activities. If you are interested please read through the blog´s volunteer page to see if this program and a visit to Bolivia might be just what you are looking for as a cultural and volunteer service learning experience.

Help is Needed to Film, Manage Social Media, Measure & Tally the Spun Yardage

Help is Needed to Film, Manage Social Media, Measure & Tally the Spun Yardage

The expenses for the Spinzilla event were $600 last year, and have not been funded for 2015. Please consider supporting the Bolivian team.

The 25 members of Team WarmisPhuskadoras are signed up and looking forward to this year´s spinning week. They wish to thank Marilyn Murphy and their Spinzilla sponsors Thrums Publications LLC and Cloth Roads for making their participation possible. The weavers appreciate the support of Cloth Roads as a sales venue for their weavings. Dorinda Dutcher, August 2, 2015

Madonnari comes to Independencia

Don Bosco High School´s Tinku Dancers

Don Bosco High School´s Tinku Dancers

The first 3 weeks of July were the winter school vacation in Bolivia. Only 2 weeks had been scheduled but the cold temperatures made opening the unheated classrooms impractical. It was just as well because the 3rd week was the Fiesta del Virgen del Carmen, a 5 day party in the streets of Independencia. There were 6 folkloric dance fraternities this year, including both schools and school bands. Music, usually from multiple bands all playing something different went on almost 24 hours a day. As wife of the mayor of Huancarani, Doña Máxima had 2 full days and nights of cooking and hosting responsibilities. Her 2 sisters and her daughter came from the city to help with the work.

Josè Teaching the Madonnari Technique to 3 Students

Josè Teaching the Madonnari Technique to 3 Students

Volunteer, José Sánchez, a middle school teacher from Mexico, arrived mid-July wishing to introduce Madonnari, drawing on sidewalks with pastel chalk, to Independencia. He participates in competitions in Mexico, and was very patient in responding to the most common question as to why he and the 3 chicas he taught at the Bolivian Alemán High School weren´t painting on a wall. The chicas chose an image of the Virgin de Carmen which they and José worked on for a week in the entrance to the high school. The following week they worked at the other high school with José to teach 2 interested chicas, who had selected a small image of the face of Don Bosco for whom their school is named.During his short stay José has become well known and receives enthusiastic greetings as he walks through town.

The Virgen de Carmen Madonnari Lacking Just a Few Final Touches

The Virgen de Carmen Madonnari Lacking Just a Few Final Touches

He graciously accepted a request from a high school teacher toassist the senior class in drawing and painting a large map of Bolivia. They will march it through the streets during the Independence Day parades on August 5th and 6th.The local teachers are frazzled as they attend to their duties of hosting the “Olympics”, which brought in thousands of students from 8 municipalities for 6 days of events during the last week of July. They know they also need to have their studentsprepared for the Independence Day celebration the following week. Nothing can be done while the classrooms serve as dormitories and the public spaces are lined with an army of local women cooking huge pots of food.

Judy´s Drawing Class

Judy´s Drawing Class

Judy Richardson, the artist-in-residence for Sustainable Bolivia, arrivedlugging a backpack full of art supplieslate July for a 6 day visit. She found the Club de Artesanas (CdA) women initially resistant to drawing, but within an hour all were totally immersed in their work. There was much laughter during the puppet making class. Vilma´s 8 year old son who´s often in trouble at school flourished under Judy´s encouragement in drawing, puppet making, and mask making classes.

Josè Teaching Math Through Games

Josè Teaching Math Through Games

Both José and Judy worked with the kids of the CdA women and the CdA chicas. It was amazing to witness how engaged the kids can be with age appropriate learning activities. The volunteer program has lost momentum over the past year, and after these past few weeks it´s obvious that the technical assistance volunteers bring to this remote area is priceless. You will be noticing an increased effort to revive the program.

Thank yous are overdue to those of you who have made the PAZA activities of the past few months possible. A hug and thanks from all of us goes out to friend and mentor Irene Schmoller, Dori Painter, and Dorothy Thursby-Stern. Thank you Cindy Howard Gibbon for the Ashford NiddyNoddys that will ease our measuring woes following the Spinzilla Spinning Week.Thank you for the support and the great visit Laurie, my dear friend.Aunt Laura, it was wonderful to see you, thank you for your support and

Joyce Dutcher with Her English Class, 1981

Joyce Dutcher with Her English Class, 1981

encouragement. Last but not least, thank you Joyce Dutcher for another contribution to the revolving fund that allows the weavers to receive immediate payment for their weavings. Love you mom…

I am proud to make one final announcement. Joyce Dutcher has finally published, “American Teacher in China, 1980-1981” a book she wrote in 1982 after spending the best year of her career teaching English at the Northeast Institute of Technology in China. The semi-autobiographical tale is a great read that captures a fascinating nano-second in the history of China between the Cultural Revolution and the modern world it is today. The realization of how quickly technology has changed Chinese society is startling. Dorinda Dutcher, July 31, 2015

Catching up with the Club de Artesanas

Doña Antonia´s Crocheted Shawl

Doña Antonia´s Crocheted Shawl

Following is a quick summary of May and June. Doña Máxima held the Club de Artesanas meetings once a week at her house while I visitedtheU.S. Thanks to PAZA supporters the meetings were productive because the women were able to purchase yarn so they could work on crochet projects while chatting. Doña Antonia crocheted a shawl and began wearing it immediately to ward off the cold of the winter months of June and July. Coats are not part of the women´s wardrobe. They layer on acrylic sweaters and shawls.

View of Doña Màxima´s Loom

View of Doña Màxima´s Loom

Doña Máxima spent hours at her loom weaving the necessities for her husband´s regalia as mayor of Huancarani. When her hands weren´t otherwise occupied she had her pushka (drop spindle) in motion to ply the purchased yarn tightly in preparation for the next weaving. In early May, she warped her loom to weave half the aguayo with bright neon colored synthetic yarn, commenting that it made the natural dyed yarn seem dark and boring. The weaving had 4 columns of figures with 1 heddle string and 1 column of figures using the embedded double weave technique that uses 5 heddle strings and 4 weft threads. It was slow going and occupied most of her time for more than 2 weeks. Upon completion she warped her loom to weave the figureless poncho desiring the reward of making quick progress. She completed it in 4 days.

Focusing on the Embedded Double Weave Column

Focusing on the Embedded Double Weave Column

Upon finishing the poncho she immediately warped her loom again to weave the other half of the aguayo. Weeks later she used a decorative stich to sew the two halves together. The final step was a crocheted border.She’d planned on weaving a second aguayo for herself, but lacking time and energy it will be woven without the motifsonly possible using the embedded double weave technique. Her daughter Vilma had expressed a desire to learn the technique, but changed her mind after observing the painstaking process. The technique allows the weaver flexibility to experiment with figures, so weavings are often a motif mix of the ancient and the contemporary such as helicopters. Sadly, the skills to weave with thistechnique that has been used to create beautiful Andean weavings for eons will disappear as the ageing weavers pass away taking with them the skills they perfected as teens.

The Aguayo Still Needing the Crocheted Border

The Aguayo Still Needing the Crocheted Border

The mayor’s wife must also appear at celebrations and rituals properly attired. PAZA purchased material for Doña Máxima to sew a traditional wool pollera (skirt) and a blouse, to help make up for her wage being halved because the Club de Artesanas met only once instead of twice a week for 2 months. Both Don Julio and Doña Máxima will be in full regalía for Bolivia´s Independence Day celebration in Huancarani on August 6th, so photos will be included with the next blog posting.

Kelsey, Katie, Dorinda, Amanda at WARP Conference, 2015

Kelsey, Katie, Dorinda, Amanda at WARP Conference, 2015

The annual WARP Conference is always a highlight of the annual U.S. trip. Amanda Smiles, founder of Ruraq Maki, presented her ongoing design efforts to create woven products that will find a market. She has brought pattern ideas and samples for bags for the past 3 years to Independencia and came up with the idea for the yoga mat straps. At the Conference Amanda met WARP Board members Katie Simmons and Kelsey Wiskirchen who have visited Independencia as PAZA volunteers. Amanda purchased weavings to sell through Ruraq Maki’s sales venues. Katie and Kelsey kindly lugged home weavings to sell so that the PAZA weaving inventory in the U.S. didn´t have to go into storage until next year.

Warping a Weaving that will be a Ruraq Maki bag

Warping a Weaving that will be a Ruraq Maki bag

Marilyn Murphy of Thrums Publications and Cloth Roads was also at the Conference. Those organizations with Marilyn as the PAZA contact will again sponsor the Independencia Spinzilla team, the WarmisPhuskadoras (Spinning Women). Marilyn made purchases of Independencia weavings to sell through Cloth Roads. If you would like to purchase a weaving please contact one of the U.S. connections. Each sale motivates the weavers to keep weaving. The expenses for last year´s Spinzilla competition were $600, and this year´s competition is not as yet funded. Please consider supporting the team.

It was fun catching up with long time PAZA supporter Dorothy Thursby-Stern at the WARP Conference. Thanks to Dorothy and WARP member Lyn Lucas all the June and July PAZA activities were possible.Dorinda Dutcher, July 27, 2015