About Accha Alta
Accha Alta is located approximately 2 hours northeast of the city of Cusco. At 12,930 feet above sea level, it is the highest community that the Center works with. Nestled on a steep mountain slope close to the ruins of Ankasmarka, an ancient Incan granary, the weavers look out over a stunning vista of the valley below from their weaving center. There are approximately 40 adult members of the Accha Alta weaving association and 30 children.
The CTTC began working with the community of Accha Alta in 1998. In the beginning almost all of the Accha Alta association members knew how to weave, but solely used synthetic fibers. Since 1998, the weavers – both women and men – have returned to using natural materials, including natural dyes and sheep, alpaca, and llama wool. Accha Alta weavers are very proud of their traditions. Many of the members of this remote mountain community only speak Quechua, the local indigenous language, and rely on their chakras, fields, to produce much of the food they need for their families.
Things have changed for the good since the CTTC arrived in my community to organize us weavers. Before, the majority of the women were illiterate and even our community was forgotten, but now even the authorities come to visit us knowing that we are weaving again. Now the women have their own money and we are able to educate our children, take them to the doctor when they get sick, feed them better, dress better.Fortunata Huaman, Accha Alta weaver
When I was a child, my mother dressed me in blankets made with synthetic thread, and I learned most of my weaving using synthetic yarn. But now that I have woven my manta of natural fiber, I have noticed that when I use it I am warmer than I was with mantas of synthetic threads.Florentina Huaman, Accha Alta weaver
About Accha Alta Textiles
Accha Alta textiles are characterized by thin sections of plain weave and wide ley (supplementary warp technique) designs. Traditional Accha Alta textiles are predominately white and red, where design backgrounds are white, design figures are red, and plain weave is also red. One of the most popular ley designs is wasqa qocha, or long lakes. Besides woven textiles, such as lliklla (blankets), and ponchos, which are made by both women and men, Accha Alta artists also knit traditional hats called chullo. Knitters in Accha Alta use a unique technique called bolitas to create diamond patterns in small bobbles. Before starting their chullo, a knitter ties thousands of small knots into their yarn, which as they knit turn into the decorative bobbles on the outside of the chullo.