The community of Patabamba is tucked high up in the mountains overlooking the Sacred Valley and the town of Pisac. With stunning views of the valley floor and the mountains that shoot up sheer on the other side, Patabamba could be the perch of condors. Multiple ruins are scattered around this small community and even higher above are glistening mountain lakes where locals pasture their flocks of sheep, alpaca and llama and occasionally fish for trout.
The weaving tradition of Patabamba almost disappeared as just a handful of elders knew how to weave. Since partnering with the CTTC in 2001, the women of Patabamba have embraced their weaving tradition and are learning from their elders the designs, techniques and styles that were almost lost. Today approximately 40 adult weavers and 15 children are members of the Patabamba weaving association.
Jakira [a complex weaving technique that produces very thick cloth] is only woven in belts, never woven in big pieces like rugs or ponchos, perhaps due to the difficulty of the technique. In addition there is a rather formidable and heavy belt that is used by young men… when they carry heavy cargo and also to wrap up a child, especially since they [the belts] are so strong.Pilar Ojeda, Patabamba elder weaver
In order for young boys to be strong, they must be wrapped or fastened with a very taut belt. Now, it isn’t done like it was in my time. Then, the baby could rest well whether it was on our back or in a bed… Pilar Ojeda, Patabamba elder weaver
About Patabamba Textiles
Traditional Patabamba lliklla (blankets) are woven with a wide section of plain weave, often in red or green, and sections of designs in doble cara, or double sided warp-faced technique. Around the edges of their blankets the women will sew a strip of blue fabric, sometimes velvet, and embroider over it designs of flowers, birds and fish in white thread. This protects the edges of their blankets from fraying with use. Weavers sometimes extend this embroidery from the corners of their blankets into the center of the plain weave. Many Patabamba designs are not continuous and connected but rather appear as blocks of individual pattern that the weavers repeat one after another.