On June 6th, 2015 the CTTC held the First Gathering of Young Weavers in the Convento y Catacumbas de San Francisco de Asis de Cusco. The nine Young Weavers Groups, over 170 young weavers, gathered in Cusco for a morning of educational talks, interactive activities, and a tour of the San Francisco museum. In the afternoon they held weaving demonstrations for the public.
Ángel Callañaupa was the the keynote speaker, and presented on his artwork inspired by the traditions, myths, and folklore of Chinchero, one of the weaving communities the CTTC works with. His beautiful illustrations tell the tales of Kanta and the Bear Prince, of Kuri Inti and the Cat, and of the importance of weaving in Chinchero to every aspect of life. The children and young people were delighted with his tales, craning out of their seats to get a better view of the paintings.
After Señor Ángel spoke, Rosa Pumayalli Quispe talked about her experience starting the first Group of Young Weavers in Chinchero. The challenges of balancing her chores at home with her schoolwork and weaving; how learning the textile traditions of Chinchero helped her with a tourism major at the San Antonio Abad University in Cusco.
After the morning talks, the young weavers split into two groups. One took a tour of San Francisco, before switching places with the other group to take part in a question game. In the game, the young people rotated in small groups through a series of stations where they had to figure out what type of fiber was vicuña, llama, alpaca or sheep, where different designs came from, and more.
After lunch, the young people gave free weaving and spinning demonstrations to the public. They filled up the courtyard of San Francisco from corner to corner with their bright ponchos and lliclla, or blankets. Visitors were impressed by the children’s skills and beautiful weaving.
Events like this give the young weavers the opportunity to meet each other and learn about traditions from the other communities. For many, it was their first time visiting the city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca. Providing a space for interaction between the young weavers and the public is also vital. It teaches the public of the beauty and importance of traditional textiles, and teaches the young people how to overcome their shyness and talk in public. With hard work and support, the CTTC hopes that this will be but the first of many Gatherings of Young People to come.