Our Compañera: Herminia

Our Compañera: Herminia
By Brianna Griesinger, Marketing and Communications Coordinator and Allegra Bundy, Marketing and Communications Intern

Herminia is an artisans from our spinning cooperative of Qusi Qoyllor in the community of Huilloc. At 31-years-old, she is part of a majority of our partner artisans who have completed primary school but have not been able to continue their schooling into secondary. Because of this, she is very committed to enrolling her kids in school. “Before we didn’t have work, and now we have work. In my case, my children are now able to study in Ollanta and I am able to take better care of them,” she explains. A lot of families from higher up communities, choose to send their children to school in Ollantaytambo if they get the chance.

Herminia has worked spinning alpaca fiber into yarn for our 2019 Kay Pacha collection. For the past two years, she has been spinning for our Yura collection of knitwear. The ‘spinning’ process is called Pushka in Quechua. The artisans take the unrefined wool, clean it and spin it on a wooden drop spindle by hand into soft and usable yarn for scarves, cowls, hats and gloves. A dedicated artisan, Herminia’s work is essential to the production of our yearly collections.

Herminia is excited about working with Awamaki as she believes this is going to help her develop her own business one day. “I’ve always wanted to have my own business, my own work, my own income. That way I don’t have to wait for anyone else to do the work but I can be independent and do it myself,” she mentions with excitement.

Herminia has been an active participant in Awamaki workshops as well. One that she remembers fondly was a business training workshop. “I’ve learned about business and how you can negotiate,” which she knows will help her and her cooperative a lot as they move forward with their work. A passionate artisan, Herminia says that she’s “learned to pay attention to what the artisans want to make,” as she knows now the importance to strike a balance between what is fun or easy and what will sell. This sense of community is essential when working as a cooperative.

Support artisans like Herminia today!

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.