Julio's Wood Carving Workshop in Ollantaytambo

By Emma Park, Marketing and Communications Volunteer at Awamaki

Awamaki offers four different types of artisanal workshops: basket-weaving, wood carving, pre-Inca pottery, and Peruvian cooking. Over the past two weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to attend 2 different woodcarving workshops in order to take photographs, part of the perks of being a marketing volunteer here in Ollantaytambo with Awamaki!

The classes are taught by Julio Farfan, a local Ollantino and master woodcarver. His work is incredible, as you can probably tell from the photos below.

The slightest hand movements or excessive pressure can negatively impact a piece, but somehow his work always comes out pristine. Julio told me that woodcarving is a craft that has run in his family for quite some time, and the knowledge is evident in his creations.

Julio began the first class that I shadowed by explaining the different types of wood that can be used in woodcarving, and then he spoke a bit about his teaching philosophy. He said that he hopes his students learn enough so that when they return to their homes, they could carve something on their own if they wanted.

After that, he chose a slender piece of wood and began to draw pencil lines on it that separated it into equal sections. He then picked up some of his different tools (there were about 15 different instruments, each of which makes a unique mark) and began to do a demonstration for his student. He explained his techniques while Juan Jose, the Tourism Coordinator at Awamaki, translated for the rest of the group. Then, he helped his student, Chris, carve the wood before stepping back to watch as Chris finished his piece by himself.

I went back to watch the second woodcarving workshop about a week later, and this time the student was Sara, a Service Traveler here at Awamaki. I came to the tail end of her class, and found her, Juan Jose, and Julio outside, talking and enjoying a nice day while also celebrating Julio’s father’s birthday. I got to see Sara’s completed piece and took a picture of student and teacher before Juan Jose, Sarah, and I headed back to the Awamaki office.

Meeting Julio and observing his workshop is definitely an experience that I’ll remember. I never realized just how much precision and work is required by the handcrafted pieces like those that Julio makes! Below are a few photos from the classes I shadowed.

About Awamaki

Awamaki is a nonprofit fair trade social enterprise dedicated to connecting Andean artisan weavers with global markets. We collaborate with women artisans to support their efforts towards educational and financial independence by co-creating beautifully handcrafted knit and woven accessories using hertiage techniques.