By Brianna Griesinger, Marketing and Communications Coordinator and Allegra Bundy, Marketing and Communications Intern
During the production of our 2019 Kay Pacha line, we connected with Juliana at her cooperative of Awac Phuña in the community of Patacancha after she participated in a workshop about quality control. Patacancha is located about two hours away from Ollantaytambo, where our office is located. The artisans who live there only occasionally come down to town due to length of the journey, so we always love visiting them in their own space whenever possible.
We dedicated a lot of time to include the women in the design process of Kay Pacha, ensuring that the final designs were their own with tweaks, adjustments and color direction by our head designer, Alejandra. Here at Awamaki, we truly believe in cooperation between the artisans and our designer, keeping the work true to Andean tradition. “I am learning new skills like how to take exact measurements and how to create good color combinations,” Juliana explained.
We are always working to include trainings on natural dyeing to preserve the cultural heritage among our partner artisans. This process is a complicated one and requires a lot of skill. “It’s difficult and I am learning to dye, which is something that before we had all forgotten,” Juliana tells us. She is excited about keeping these traditions going in her community. Along with dyeing, Juliana has also learned how to weave with thinner wool, something that is challenging, but important when it comes to working with future potential clients.
Juliana is timid in front of strangers, mainly speaking Quechua, however she is an evident leader in her cooperative, a leadership skill we are sure we will continue to strengthen.
Continue to empower women like Juliana as they strengthen their skills and earn a sustainable income for their communities.