Long before Chinchero gave birth to the CTTC, it was the ‘birthplace of the rainbow.’ Located 45 minutes outside of Cusco on the high plain Pampa de Anta, Chinchero looks out on stunning views where rainbows frequently arch across potato fields during the rainy season.
The colours of the rainbow can also be found throughout Chinchero textiles. The 40 adult weavers and 40 children of the community weaving association are masters in the textile art. Since the very beginnings of the CTTC in the 1960s to the official formation of a non-profit in 1996, the women weavers of Chinchero have succeeded in bringing weaving once more to the forefront in their community. Chinchero is now recognized internationally as a prominent weaving town whose focus on reviving tradition has also revitalized the community itself.
As Chinchero is located on the highway between Cusco and Urubamba in the Sacred Valley, the weavers of the Chinchero weaving association give demonstrations to visiting tourists and run a small store that offers textiles from all ten of the communities. If you are interested in visiting Chinchero for a weaving and dyeing demonstration, please contact us or drop by any day of the week between 8:30 am – 4:00 pm to talk with the women at work.
Thirty or thirty-five years ago, we wove our textiles like this blanket with synthetic yarn and with colors dyed with aniline and like this we would sell them in the market. Little by little we have organized ourselves and the Textile Center has really given us a lot of wonderful help. Engracia Quispe Castro, Chinchero elder weaver
Many people – students, foreigners, weavers from other countries – come to me asking about the significance of the designs. Sometimes I have said that I don’t know, but at other times they have brought me examples and I have consented to give an opinion, but no more than to agree or disagree, and depending on each case, and only if I had the time or patience.Marcela Callañaupa, Chinchero elder weaver
About Chinchero Textiles
Chinchero weavers traditionally weave in the doble cara, or two sided warp-faced, technique. Beginning in the 20th century weavers began to learn ley, or single-sided supplementary warp technique, as well as new designs from other communities. Today Chinchero weavers only create traditional textiles in the traditional techniques and designs of Chinchero, while they will utilize a variety of designs and techniques for other types of textiles.
Chinchero lliklla, or traditional blankets, have a wide section of blue, red and/or green plain weave and symmetrical sections of designs. When natural indigo dye disappeared in the 20th century, many weavers chose to weave the traditionally blue plain weave section in black. For this reason, many Chinchero blankets from the early to mid 20th century have black plain weave rather than blue.
Today the weavers of Chinchero have recovered natural dyeing and once more weave their plain-weave section in indigo blue, cochineal red, and ch’ilka green. Luraypu is the main design of the community and figures in the center of design strips with smaller designs to either side. Chinchero weavers are particularly proud of their unique boarder technique called ñawi awapa which is simultaneous woven and sewn onto the edges of textiles. In this technique the weft of the border weaving is also the thread used to sew the border onto the textile.