The people who care for the people
Nilda was born in the small community of Chinchero. Like many other children during this time, she was responsible for taking care of her family’s flock of sheep. Watching over them in the fields, she spent her time learning to spin and weave with her friends. As she grew and learned more complex designs, her curiosity was sparked. She could see there was a powerful history behind the art of her people, but that it was slowly being lost. When Nilda was a teenager she befriended an ethnobotanist and anthropologist who moved to Chinchero in the 1970s. With their encouragement, she embarked on a journey that would change the fate of Cusco textiles. After becoming the first person from her community to attend college, she went on to become one of the founders of the CTTC. Since her youth Nilda has been a community organizer and leader, bringing her town together behind the goal of reviving their textile traditions. Now the director of the CTTC, an award-winning author, an international speaker, and expert in Cusqueñan textiles, Nilda cannot believe how far the Center has come since its early days as a group of friends meeting to weave in each other’s homes.
Miryam is a busy woman, volunteering her help to many organizations. She joined the CTTC in 2005 as treasurer and board member. Miriam spends little time in her home town of Cusco, as her service work frequently takes her traveling across Peru. Besides volunteering her time at the CTTC, she serves on the local division of the International Lions Club.
Hilda joined the CTTC board in 2000 after experience as a tour conductor in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. She is a patron of the textile arts and wishes to support the weavers in any way she can. Besides her board member duties, Hilda was part of the team that organized both Tinkuy 2013 and Tinkuy 2017. When she can escape from the office, Hilda likes to take to the mountains going on hikes with her family.
Sarah Lyon is an Art Historian who specializes in contemporary Andean textiles, specifically those of the Cusco region of Peru; she graduated from Williams College with a BA in Art History and a concentration in International Studies on a Latin American Tract. Sarah first became involved with the CTTC in 2012 when she completed an independent research project on the textiles of Chinchero and Huilloc with Director Nilda Callañaupa as her advisor, a project which evolved into her undergraduate thesis. In 2014 she returned to Cusco to join the CTTC as Coordinator of the Education Department for five years; she now serves as a board member and secretary to the board of directors. Sarah is currently completing her Master’s degree in Cultural Studies with a focus on Cultural Policy at Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar – Sede Ecuador. With a methodology based in Participatory Action Research, her master’s thesis addresses concerns with appropriation and the collective rights that the Quechua weavers of Cusco have to the intellectual property of their textiles.
For years Elizabeth has served as an advisor to CTTC, relying on her
Flora is a weaver from the community of Chinchero and has been part of the Board of Trustees of the CTTC since its beginnings. Since she was a little girl, Flora has been in contact with the process of Andean weaving passed down from generation to generation in her community since old times. Nowadays, she lives between Cusco and Chinchero, and every time she goes to the latter she gives weaving demonstrations to the visitors at the local weaver’s association called “AWAY”, which means “to weave” in Quechua.
Diana comes to us from a unique background. Born in Cusco, she grew up between Chinchero and Cusco then moved to the USA for six years to pursue higher education, graduating from the University of Wisconsin River Falls with a degree in International Studies and Spanish. After graduation, Diana returned to Peru to work with the CTTC from 2015 to 2016. In 2018 she joined the Board of Trustees.
Yolanda is a weaver from Chinchero who graduated from San Antonio Abad University with a degree in Education. She’s been with the CTTC since its inception, in 1996, as both a board member and the Community Development Coordinator. Yolanda works with the weaving associations on community organization, the work of forming and running an association, and the particular needs of each group of weavers which includes everything from medical assistance to help with personal problems. Yolanda has been immersed in the world of textiles since her youth and can’t imagine leaving it. She still knits chullo, traditional hats, and likes to spend time with her family when she isn’t at the Center.
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Before joining the CTTC in 2004 Juan taught young people in San José Obrero, Caijo, Andahuaylillas. He first became involved with CTTC working on the construction of our headquarters in Cusco and stayed on to help with maintenance and the odd job. Besides being a general handyman, Juan has the exciting work of overseeing our Indigo Project in Huyro. He travels a few times each year to this jungle town to check up on the young plants, see to general maintenance, and harvest the leaves when they are ready. After a taxing, multi-month long process, Juan extracts the beautiful blue dye that the weavers use to color their yarn. In addition to overseeing the Indigo project, Juan also assists Director Nilda during dye workshops, helping the weavers obtain the stunning colors they weave with.
Edit has recently joined the CTTC team as the main cashier of the Center. She is in charge of managing all the accounts, as well as the payments, the financial reports, and the purchases. Edit is always surrounded by good energy when she is working, which makes people at the office feel more relaxed every time they need to do financial operations.
Miriam began working with the CTTC in 2014 as part of the sales team, before taking over the acquisitions area years later. Together with the team of textiles acquisitions, she was in charge of supervising the purchases process, the categorization of the pieces, and, finally, its codification before they entered the storage room correctly. She is currently in charge of the storeroom's administration. Miriam has identified with the Center's mission since the beginning and has helped to promote Andean textile arts since she joined the CTTC. Throughout her life, Miriam has been very devoted to the Señor de Qoyllurit’i, in whose festivity she participates in the traditional dances accompanied by her family.
Domingo works with the weavers to receive the textiles they bring in each month, pricing and categorizing each piece. He joined the CTTC in 2002 as part of the storage room area. Domingo has always been very fond of the mission of the NGO to support the communities and revive old designs. Domingo’s wife is from Chinchero and she is part of the local weaving association called “AWAY”. They have two daughters who are their biggest motivation. When not working in the offices, Domingo participates in Chinchero festivals where he dances traditional roles.
Maria Esther is a weaver from Chinchero who, together with the team of textiles acquisitions, is in charge of supervising the quality of the woven pieces, the combination of colors and the designs throughout the purchase period. The rest of the time, she is mostly in charge of delivering the textiles to the sewing shop so they can be transformed into cushion covers, bags, placemats, vests, etc. Once she receives the textiles already transformed into the different products mentioned before, Maria Esther is in charge of entering the codes for each piece and adding them to the storeroom.
Narcisa has been working with the CTTC for many years. She began as the person in charge of washing and ironing the weavings once they were purchased by the Acquisitions Department. Currently, she also takes care of the cleaning duties in the Center. Narcisa is a proud mother of four men who support her whenever she needs extra hands.
Yanett is from the community of Pitumarca where she grew up learning the designs and techniques of her home with her mother and as a member of the Young Weavers Group of the Munay Ticll’a Weaving Association. Yanett loves to weave and is now quite the accomplished textile artist. She also sings and dances wayno, traditional Andean music, with a local group at festivals. After graduating from high school, Yanett began a tourism degree at the San Antonio Abad University in Cusco where she currently is working on her thesis as the last step in achieving her degree. Yanett joined the CTTC staff in 2014 finishing up a traditional doll project for the shop. She is now in charge of the Education Department and firmly considers herself a supporter of the Center’s mission focused on the recuperation and revitalization of Andean textile traditions.
Yanet was born in the community of Pampachiri, in the Pitumarca district. As a child, she loved watching her mother and grandmother working during their weaving sessions. One day, her mother found Yanet trying to weave by herself, and, from then on, she started training her in the ancestral art of Andean weaving. Yanet became a member of the Young Weavers Group of the Munay Ticll'a Weaving Association which helped boost her textile practice. Her admiration for Director Nilda encouraged her to pursue a Tourism degree at the San Antonio Abad University of Cusco years later. Yanet never stopped weaving and she feels proud of being now the one in charge of passing down Cusqueñean textile traditions to the next generations. She is currently part of the Acquisitions team of the CTTC, working hand-in-hand with the weavers and the rest of the staff.
Rosita is from Chinchero, where as a child she helped form the first Young Weavers Group, then known as the Jakima Club. Her grandmother began to teach her how to weave when she was eight, and by the time she was nine Rosita had formed the Jakima Club with her friends. Now an accomplished weaver, Rosa realizes that her traditional knowledge not only gave her a leg up while studying tourism at San Antonio Abad University in Cusco but helps her excelled in every task she pursues. Rosita works at the CTTC in the shop, explaining about techniques and traditions to visitors. Rosita makes customers see that textile pieces are not just commercial products, but are fine hand-woven pieces with a great history behind them.
Evelin joined the CTTC in 2014, as part of the sales team. She was impressed to encounter an organization founded by Quechua women working to empower weavers, preserve textile traditions, and promote community development. Her professional background in Tourism in the Esitur Institute, allowed her to put on practice different skills promoting the fair-trade of Andean textile art. Besides giving visitors valuable information about the different stages of the weaving process, she has always enjoyed sharing the stories behind the woven pieces, as each one carries a unique spirit. Evelin is now part of the Textile Acquisitions team where she is delighted to hear more first-hand stories about Andean weaving.