About Santa Cruz de Sallac
Santa Cruz de Sallac is located to the south of the city of Cusco in the mountains above the market town of Urcos where highways meet and products from the Amazon jungle and the Andes mingle. With spectacular views from their weaving center of the valley below, at night the lights of cars flicker as they slowly wind up the road on the other side heading toward Puerto Maldonado and the jungle.
Sallac has a wonderful sense of community and weavers focus on helping each other; the weaving association is incredibly well-organized and united. Today approximately 45 adult weavers and 20 children are members of the Sallac weaving association which first partnered with the CTTC in 2005.
About Santa Cruz de Sallac Textiles
The community of Santa Cruz de Sallac is unique in many of their textile techniques. While most other communities rely on either the doble cara (two sided) or ley (supplementary warp) weaving techniques, in Sallac weavers for the most part do not use woven techniques to create their designs. Instead they weave sections of white, plain weave into their textiles, and then return to embroider it in different colors of yarn.
Besides their embroidery, Sallac is renowned for their revival and use of ikat which in Quechua is called watay, or ‘to tie.’ In this technique weavers tie knots in their warp and then dye it. The dye cannot penetrate the knots, so these sections of the warp remain un-dyed. When weavers take out the knots, put their warp on the loom and weave plain weave, the sections of dyed and undyed warp thread create a pattern of the chakana, or a cross design that held significant meaning to the Inca.