Ruraq Maki

Jewelry Making and Spinzilla Prep

grpchicas September kicked off with the much anticipated arrival of Amanda Smiles, founder of Ruraq Maki and jewelry making instructor. This was her 5th year teaching jewelry making techniques with wire and beads. She taught 4 morning classes to the Club de Artesanas (CdA) women and 4 afternoon classes to the CdA teens. There was an afternoon class with homework for the 2 CdA trainers, and a class in Huancarani.

Amanda and the Chicas with the Final Results

Amanda and the Chicas with the Final Results

The techniques have gotten more complex each year, and Amanda donated 2 jewelry making books to the PAZA library that contain all the techniques that she has taught in a variety of new designs. The class for the CdA trainers was added this year to teach them how to plan and prepare for the jewelry making days to be held once a month. They need to learn to monitor the projects so the supplies are used responsibly and the students use the techniques in designs that improve their skills. If any of the CdA participants decide to make jewelry to sell they will be able to buy the supplies through PAZA to get started.

Doña Antonia Chasing After Her Flock of Sheep

Doña Antonia Chasing After Her Flock of Sheep

There was a great turnout for the jewelry making class in Huancarani. Eighteen out of the 28 members of the Centro de Artesania, Huancarani (CAH) crowded around plastic sheeting in the shade of the church to make rings. Three women had to bring their flocks of sheep so the hillside and soccer field were full. Doña Antonia Calcina’s flock was ornery and she took off running multiple times as they edged towards the downhill slope towards home.

All Enjoy Making Their Bead Selection

All Enjoy Making Their Bead Selection

After the class there was a brief Spinzilla Spinning Week meeting. Sixteen spinners on the Cloth Roads Warmis Phushkadoras Spinzilla team live in Huancarani and 3 more are from Huancarani but live in Independencia. Many of the women were spinning or plying as Doña Máxima, the Team Captain, went over the rules and reminded everyone to start preparing roving. The rural women learned to spin as girls and it is odd to see them without a phuska (drop spindle) in hand.

Showing Off Their New Rings. The Hands to Beat During Spinzilla! Photo Credit: Amanda Smiles

Showing Off Their New Rings. The Hands to Beat During Spinzilla! Photo Credit: Amanda Smiles

The women and teens all send a hug and thanks to Amanda for the long trip to Independencia lugging the jewelry making supplies. It was 2 fun weeks that all look forward to every year. Many of her students commented on the ease of working this year thanks to the 10 sets of jewelry making pliers that had been donated by Ruraq Maki.

 A huge thank you to Spinzilla Team Coordinator Constance Hall and to Marilyn Murphy the Cloth Roads sponsor for the team for once again getting the word out to rally support for the Warmis Phuskadoras. The budget of $1,000 for the event has been met.

Doña Casimira Set Last Year´s Team Record of 4,680 Yards During Spinzilla

Doña Casimira Set Last Year´s Team Record of 4,680 Yards During Spinzilla

Thank you Debora Petschek and Alison Walsh for your support, all want you to come back soon to visit! Those of you who supported the team last year and again this year helped to convey to the spinners that their skill is recognized and valued. Thank you Margaret Tyler, Sarah Linder, Susan Brady, Katrina Stewart, Victoria Huff, Judy Gilchrist, Penelope Brakenbury, Linda Ligon, and Shani Kari. It has been fun hearing from new friends who are supporting the spinners this year. Your comments will be shared with the spinners during Spinning Week.Thank you Peggy McKoy, Jayne Schafer, Dana Davidoff, Janet Davis, Jeanette Lurier, Anne Bluemel, and Katherine Spitler. All the heartfelt comments and support demonstrate to the rural Bolivian women that there is a bigger world of spinners sharing the camaraderie and joy of Spinning Week.

Doñas Alicia and Narciza Are Highly Competitive with Each Other During Spinzilla. Photo Credit: Amanda Smiles

Doñas Alicia and Narciza Are Highly Competitive with Each Other During Spinzilla. Photo Credit: Amanda Smiles

A thank you is due to WARP member Jere Thompson for being proactive in getting the word out for 2 volunteers during Spinning Week. The spinners really do want to see a foreigner spin and had asked that a foreigner join the team. There were some inquires, so maybe next year… Thank you, Kate Larson, for writing the great article about the Bolivian spinners for the, “Spin Off” blog.

An apology and belated thank you to friend and former Peace Corps volunteer Emily Hooker for her continued PAZA support. As always thank you Lyn Lucas and Dorothy Thursby for your ongoing support that keeps the PAZA activities ongoing! Dorinda Dutcher, September 19, 2016

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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

Jewelry Making In Huancarani

Doñas Alicia and Justina Making Their Bead Selection

Doñas Alicia and Justina Making Their Bead Selection

Thanks to the generosity of Ruraq Maki, the 4th annual jewelry making workshop was held beside the Huancarani soccer field in early September. Amanda Smiles, founder of Ruraq Maki, contracted a vehicle which was packed with hitchhikers headed to their farms further into the rural countryside. The women were delighted for a social break from their daily labors while still having a productive day. Three men waiting to hitch a ride to Independencia joined in and made earrings for their wives.

Doña Narciza Plying Yarn to Weave Herself a Blanket

Doña Narciza Plying Yarn to Weave Herself a Blanket

Doña Narciza arrived on the verge of collapse having carried 25 pounds of corn kernels in her aguayo for the hour long walk from her farm. Dorinda had inquired about buying corn for flour and to make tortillas, and was properly embarrassed by the effort made to make the delivery. From her hand carry Doña Narciza produced a bowl of rice, potatoes, chuño, and eggs for the visitors still warm having been insulated in a weaving. She´d also packed a huge ball of natural dyed yarn that she attached to the sash of her pollera (skirt) to ply. It will be woven into a blanket. Although the weavers switched from brightly colored synthetic yarn and synthetic dyed local wool to weaving with natural dyed yarns in 2007 for their weavings to sell they continued to use the brightly dyed yarn for weavings for their homes and for rituals. Just in the past two years have weavers commented that they have chosen to use natural dyed yarns for home use.

Discussion for Improvement of the Yoga Mat Straps

Discussion for Improvement of the Yoga Mat Straps

After the jewelry making workshop there was an informal meeting to discuss the quality of the weavings and the upcoming Spinzilla spinning week. Some of the yoga mat straps ordered by PAZA were delivered with a lack of color contrast. Doña Máxima held up 2 examples where the colors ran together instead of standing out in the eye catching manner that the weavers usually warp. Doña Máxima had discussed the problem a few days prior with 4 of the Huancarani weavers who had visited the PAZA workshop during market day. Doña Julia who had attended that discussion thought to bring her balls of yarn, which she had to pack on her for the hour long walk to the jewelry workshop. The women gathered around when she upended her bag of yarn and took turns placing the natural dyed balls of yarn together to observe and comment on the effect of various color combinations.

Discussing Color Combinations

Discussing Color Combinations

There was a brief meeting concerning the upcoming Spinzilla spinning week. Doña Máxima, the Captain of the Cloth Roads/Team Warmis Phuskadoras, reminded the weavers to prepare their yarn. Weavers such as Doña Narciza and Doña Eulalia who have herds of goats instead of sheep will need to purchase sheepskins from other weavers. The sheepskins will be washed, sheared, and hand worked into roving. Carding combs are not used. The day was set for Doña Máxima, Dorinda, and a social media volunteer to travel to Huancarani during spinning week to take photos and check in with the participants to see if there are any concerns. Planning for the measuring of the handspun yardage was also discussed.

Amanda Instructing Doña Eulalia

Amanda Instructing Doña Eulalia

On the drive back to Independencia, Doña Eulalia´s goats were spotted miles away from the soccer field. Doña Máxima lamented that Doña Eulalia should have hitched a ride with us. Doña Eulalia stopped by the PAZA workshop the following Sunday to deliver 2 beautifully color coordinated yoga mat straps and was queried about her wayward goats. She said she searched for hours and returned home at dark without them. The following day she and her sons headed out and finally encountered them high on a mountaintop where a few of the females had given birth. She´d worried all night about predators and was delighted to find the entire herd not only intact but larger.

Amanda and Doña Máxima Team Teaching

Amanda and Doña Máxima Team Teaching

The weavers would like to thank the supporters from around the world whose contributions are making it possible for the Team Warmis Phuskadoras to compete in Spinzilla 2015 and for the local celebration of the event that will take place in Huancarani in December. Please click on the button above to support the team. So far $90 of the estimated $800 needed for the Spinzilla expenses has been raised Thank you. Dorinda Dutcher, September 5, 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

2015 Feria de la Chirimoya

PAZA Booth

PAZA Booth

The members of the Club de Artesanas (CdA) worked 3 months making jewelry and soap, designing signs and sales tags, and finishing woven products to be sold at Independencia’s harvest fair, the Feria de la Chirimoya. The sales results didn’t warrant all the production, but the journey to the goal was fun and the sales experience was priceless.

Filling the Earring Display

Filling the Earring Display

Doña Máxima worked with the local carpenter to design a free standing wood frame to display the earrings. She tacked woven black material to the back, and made small tags to hold and identify each pair of earrings. All gathered around to watch her fill the box with the 88 pairs of earrings, thrilled to see their work displayed. A discussion about costs and pricing led to a price consensus of 3 Bolivianos (Bs.) per pair (42 cents), with 1 Bs. going towards supplies. During a pricing discussion last September with

Esther Gets Her Ears Re-Pierced

Esther Gets Her Ears Re-Pierced

jewelry trainer, Amanda Smiles, founder of Ruraq Maki the price with labor figured in was 12 Bs. Discussing what the market would pay brought the price down. Only 6 pairs of earrings sold at the fair, and 1 Bs. per pair had to be paid to PAZA for supplies. The sales experience did motivate the chicas to sell their earrings on their own.  They plan to sell all before jewelry production begins again when Amanda arrives in September to offer her 2015 classes.

Veronica Sells Earrings While Zuni Bags Soaps

Veronica Sells Earrings While Zuni Bags Soaps

Everyone made a pair of earrings to wear at the fair. Sisters Veronica and Esther had allowed their pierced ears to close, so the other 2 chicas prepared to do the repiercing. Veronica asked for cinnamon bark to chew on to alleviate her anxiety.

Designing Sign of Wares for Sale

Designing Sign of Wares for Sale

There is no refrigerator thus no ice, which they´d never heard of using for numbing anyway. A needle, alcohol, and cotton were provided and after what seemed a long time, the two had thread strings looped through their earlobes. CdA provided alcohol and cotton for cleaning while the piercings healed.

The hand-made soaps dried on screens until a day before the feria. They were wrapped in paper stamped with the CdA logo and a second stamp that said “jaboncillo” (bath soap) and had lines to write in the type and weight. The soaps were cucumber with mint essential oil, oatmeal with lavender essential oil, carrot with apple synthetic fragrance, bars with rose synthetic fragrance, and avocado with lemon

Doña Máxima Prepares the Soaps for Packaging

Doña Máxima Prepares the Soaps for Packaging

synthetic fragrance. They were specially priced for their debut at 2 Bs. (28 cents each) and weighed between 60 and 70 grams. The cost per bar with essential oils is 2.20 Bs., but the synthetic fragrance bars only cost 1 Bs. to make. Commercially manufactured bars of soap weighing in at 60 grams cost 4 to 5 Bs. (56 – 70 cents), a luxury not affordable on a rural budget. We sold 16 of the 62 bars of soap, and the cucumber was the big seller.

Combing Out Washed Locks

Combing Out Washed Locks

CdA began a “beauty begins with cleanliness” campaign. It rolls off the tongue better in Spanish, “La belleza empieza con la limpieza”. One of the chicas had gone to the hospital to get relief from an itchy scalp and was told she had lice but was not given any remedy information. Dorinda offered to give her a hair washing, herbal rinse, and tea tree oil treatment and 2 more chicas and a young sister begged for the treatment. A big pot of water was heated. Rosemary was boiled with pennyroyal for a rinse, and new combs were purchased. All 4 had long beautiful thick hair and helped each other with the comb out the tea tree oil application.

Doña Antonia had the Booth Next Door

Doña Antonia had the Booth Next Door

Shampoo was purchased for a mid-week wash, and the treatment repeated the following Saturday. Cleanliness including the washing and sunning of bedding was discussed, but it will be challenging since only 1 had a pillow and the heavy woven wool blankets are a challenge to wash and need drying time in the sun.

The CdA sales booth was among the fruit booths of the Huancarani weavers. All had brought in chirimoyas, avocados, and mandarins harvested from the lowest elevations in Huancarani along the river. Doña Máxima sold 2 small ch’upsas at greatly reduced prices, 1 wallet, and 1 key ring. We haven´t bothered with a booth the past few years because the weavings don´t sell locally. But, the weavers observed our effort and we were able to offer the chicas a sales experience, which is a great starting point for future project ideas. Dorinda Dutcher, May 14, 2015

February Club de Artesanas Activities

Afternoon Jewelry Making Class

Afternoon Jewelry Making Class

Development of income generating activities was an objective in forming the Club de Chicas (now Artesanas, CdA) in 2010. Volunteers have taught a variety of skills through the years that could have led to income generation, but the fuse of entrepreneurial spirit refused to light. Finally in February the women in the Club de Artesanas spent time producing products to sell instead of just working on skill building projects, which are usually knitted, sewn, or crocheted clothing for their families.

 

Checking 1st Batch of Carrot Soap, Grating to Make 2nd Batch

Checking 1st Batch of Carrot Soap, Grating to Make 2nd Batch

Amanda Smiles, founder of Ruraq Maki, has spent 2 weeks a year for the past 3 years teaching jewelry making workshops to the members of the Club de Artesanas. Each year she leaves Doña Máxima, the CdA trainer, with “homework”. After a jewelry pricing workshop she tasked Doña Máxima with teaching the wire techniques to new CdA members and creating a display to debut the jewelry at a PAZA sales booth at May´s Feria de la Chirimoya (harvest fair). During February, Doña Máxima spent half a day teaching and working with the women and young teen members to produce earrings.

2nd Batch of Carrot Soap Melted in Double Boiler Turned Out Best so Far

2nd Batch of Carrot Soap Melted in Double Boiler Turned Out Best so Far

CdA’s soap making efforts are progressing. The women tossed out the leftover foul smelling rendered tallow from the first batch of basic soap and started anew. They divided the remaining basic soap from the first batch to take home to use as laundry soap and were pleased with the results. Washing laundry is a hands on time consuming rub a dub dub chore done in cold water at an outdoor cement sink or in a plastic wash tub.

Vilma´s First Assembled Zippered Bag

Vilma´s First Assembled Zippered Bag

Doña Máxima and Antonia who rendered the 3.5 kilos of fresh tallow for the 2nd batch of basic soap were pleased it was not a repeat of their previous eye watering foul smelling experience. It was not perfect but a temperature adjustment when mixing the tallow and lye should fix the problems when they make the next batch. Pairs of CdA members worked together for half an hour each Club session to refine the basic soap by grating, melting, and

Chicas Heading Out in a Downpour Anxious to Buy Yarn for 1st Project

Chicas Heading Out in a Downpour Anxious to Buy Yarn for 1st Project

mixing in additives. So far they´ve made carrot, avocado, rosemary, cucumber peppermint, and lavender soaps. They were disappointed in the lack of fragrance in the unscented vegetable soaps. Scent seems to be how they differentiate a body soap from a laundry soap bar. They’ll continue to sample and improve the soaps, as well as come up with a name and a manner to package the bars to sell them alongside the jewelry at the Fair in May.

 

Reyna, the chicas, and Joel at a Saturday morning crochet class

Reyna, the chicas, and Joel at a Saturday morning crochet class

CdA member, Vilma is making a small weekly income by assembling the woven yoga mat straps and zippered pouches on the Juki industrial sewing machine recently purchased, thanks to Ruraq Maki.
Saturday mornings have been open workshop and PAZA library hours for the CdA chicas since 2010. Last year they rarely took advantage of the opportunity, so 5 younger teens have been recruited to the Club. On February 28th, a new CdA program was offered to the teenagers aged 10 to 14. Reyna Chavez (Noemi´s sister), a CdA member since 2011 and a graduating senior was hired to teach a clothing crochet class. Her students include Joel´s 2 sisters who attended CdA´s school vacation session, a daughter of a new CdA adult member, a neighbor, and Mary who has attended Amanda´s jewelry classes and been baking birthday cakes with Dorinda for years.

Doña Máxima Helping Mary Load Firewood, 2009

Doña Máxima Helping Mary Load Firewood, 2009

Meeting Mary was a memorable event that took place 6 years ago. She and her elder sister Ana were miles above town standing by the side of the road with a young ram and a pile of firewood. They flagged down the truck PAZA had contracted for a rural natural dye workshop. The girls and their burdens were loaded into the back of the pickup. During the unloading in town the ram made a bid for freedom leading the girls on a merry chase. Once captured, Doña Máxima helped Ana secure the ram in her aguayo to pack on her back and loaded up a shawl with the firewood for 9 year old Mary to lug home.

Thanks to Lyn Lucas and Dorothy Thursby-Stern, long-term PAZA supporters, PAZA was able to offer the variety of CdA activities in February. Thank you and a big hug goes out to George Dutcher for his sponsorship of our soap making efforts. Thanks, dad! Dorinda Dutcher, March 6, 2015

2014 Recap

68 Sewing, Knitting, & Crochet Projects Completed

68 Sewing, Knitting, & Crochet Projects Completed

Shiriin Barakzai, PAZA’s administrative mentor, set up PAZA’s “Rolling Program Plan” (RPP) while volunteering in 2010. The 2014 statistics were compiled and finally entered into the pages of Inputs, Outputs, and Outcomes/Lessons Learned to sum up what was accomplished and crystalize the nebulous plans for this year. Whew!

The Club de Artesanas (CdA) members enjoyed listening to a recap of the year´s activities, especially the statistics of their projects completed. All the weavers were interested in hearing how much income they earned from weavings sold in 2014, and their ranking in the year´s sales.

8 Volunteers Shared a Multitude of Skills

8 Volunteers Shared a Multitude of Skills

Because weaving is done at home, the CdA members work on sewing, crochet, and knitting projects on Club days. The 9 women involved in the Club improved their needle arts skills by completing 61 projects. The completed projects help clothe their families. The teenagers who joined when the Club began in 2010 will graduate from high school in December. Their interest in the Club and in weaving has increasingly waned and the 5 still involved completed only 7 sewing or crochet projects. Although they will be welcome to use the PAZA workshop for school projects the budget for project supplies will go towards younger girls wishing to learn how to weave.

68,479 Yards of Yarn Were Spun During Spinzilla Spinning Week

68,479 Yards of Yarn Were Spun During Spinzilla Spinning Week

The high school seniors will be invited to participate in the popular Ruraq Maki jewelry making classes one last time before they scatter to the 4 winds.

Spinzilla spinning week was the year´s high point. The weavers got a charge out of competing in an activity they´ve done almost daily their entire lives. Spinning is just 1 step in the process from sheep to final weaving, so the competition was an extraordinary opportunity to raise awareness of the ancient labor intensive Andean weaving tradition. The weavers are honored that Thrums LLC and ClothRoads have again offered to be the TNNA sponsor of Team

The Top Producing Weaver Sold 21 Weavings

The Top Producing Weaver Sold 21 Weavings

Warmis Phuskadoras for Spinzilla 2015. The documentary was great fun to film, and it would be wonderful if a textile oriented filmmaker would volunteer to visit us to film this year´s spinning week which will be October 5-11.

There were 165 weavings sold in 2014 by 29 weavers totaling $3,613. That is a decrease from the sales of 215 weavings in 2013 by 35 weavers totaling $4,477. Sales at the 2013 Tinkuy International Weaving Conference, sales to volunteers, and the generous purchases of a fair trade buyer at WARP’s annual conference Marketplace boosted sales that year. PAZA is transitioning from carrying an inventory of traditional weavings on consignment to placing orders with the weavers to be assembled into zippered pouches and a variety of bags, belts, sashes, yoga mat straps, guitar straps, and wallets requested by buyers.

CdA Held 6 Dye Days

CdA Held 6 Dye Days

The orders and production capacity maintained a delicate balance in 2014, however PAZA has an ever increasing inventory in the U.S. that needs to be sold to keep the rotating fund rotating. The woven products can be purchased online through Ruraq Maki and ClothRoads. Dorinda can ship orders during her U.S. visit in May. The WARP Conference Marketplace in Burlingame, CA, May 29/31 will be the only U.S. direct sales opportunity.

Amanda, Ruraq Maki Founder, Oversaw Completion of 33 Jewelry Projects

Amanda, Ruraq Maki Founder, Oversaw Completion of 33 Jewelry Projects

The industrial sewing machine needed to begin in-house assembly of the woven products was purchased in December, thanks to the fundraising efforts of Ruraq Maki. Following a training class, the sewing of the yoga mat straps began in February, providing income for CdA members. As the women improve their skills the assembly of the lined zippered pouches will also be done in the PAZA workshop. Volunteers to teach sewing workshops are needed to help the women improve their skills.

Many Weavings Were Warped During CdA Days

Many Weavings Were Warped During CdA Days

The PAZA successes can be attributed to people working together. Seventeen PAZA supporters raised $3,450 of the $4,047 spent in expenses. An additional $2,200 was contributed to the fund for 6 year old Joel Cachi’s medical evaluation. Noemi Chavez was able to begin her career as a nursing technician thanks to the funds that were gifted to cover the professional certification process. The fundraising efforts for Joel and Noemi met their objectives and are complete.

Noemi supported the Huancarani weavers by attending the 2015 municipal government budget meeting and demanding funding for the weavers. The weavers in turn reorganized their defunct Organization of Women so they can access those funds. They elected a CdA member as President. The local political winds have changed and freshened so local collaboration looks more promising than it has in the past 5 years.

Through the collaborative efforts of all who were involved with PAZA in 2014 the objectives to provide technical assistance to help rural Andean women generate income to care for their families and to help rescue and preserve the Andean weaving tradition were well met. Thank you. Dorinda Dutcher, February 5, 2015