Sacred Valley NGOs 052 - Awamaki weaving tour
Gorgeously rich threads waiting for a pattern on a traditional Andean hand-loom. We visited Patacancha as part of a day-tour by local NGO Awamaki to the weaving cooperatives they support with their work.
Awamaki is a registered Peruvian non-profit organisation that works with women in traditional communities around the Sacred Valley town of Ollantaytambo to revitalized traditional textiles and improve the quality of life and income for the remote high Andean communities. They run a Fair Trade product shop in Ollantaytambo and run day tours and multi-day residential workshops to see and try the traditional craft in person.
Day tours run to the village of Patacancha up the valley from Ollantaytambo and are worth making the time during your visit of Cusco and the Sacred Valley.
Awamaki provides skill training and market access to indigenous women weavers, teaching, preserving and revitalizing traditional textile weaving, croqueting and the use of natural plant dyes. (most traditional Andean clothing has now switched often-toxic artificial dyes because they are brighter, but many initiatives and organisations are promoting the preservation and return of the rich natural dyes).
Their Fair Trade shop in Ollantaytambo sells many of the beautiful -and trust me, they are beautiful- handcraft textiles and products, combining traditional weaving techniques and patterns with modern styles and products (like gorgeous handwoven alpaca wool iPad cases). During the tours you can buy directly from the women weavers at prices that are good for both.
They also take long-term volunteers.
Check out awamaki.org to see more details or to arrange a tour or volunteer