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ancient traditions

January 17, 2014

the  program, last night,  at the Victoria Handweavers’ and Spinners Guild was presented by Ashli Akins

a young woman with a vision, a mission and an impressive ability to tell the story of the Quechua communities of the Andean mountains

through the non-profit organization she founded


Ashli, along with a team of volunteers is making a difference

read their story at

ethnic textiles 077they are choosing to support culture and tradition

not change the  customs of the people

ethnic textiles 075each weaving tells a story

woven on primitive tools, with local alpaca and wool

ethnic textiles 067

softly dyed with colours from native plants

and cochineal for red

ethnic textiles 071

the weavings are exquisite – even more so when touched

ethnic textiles 069

ethnic textiles 072

but – they are being forced out of their small market by enterprising entrepreneurs who are copying the designs substituting man made yarns and chemical dyes

polluting the planet in the process

and charging the tourists a fraction of the price

 even more alarming , the next generation are not learning the weaving skills as they can’t support their families with their textiles

ethnic textiles 078if each of us helped – just a tiny bit – the culture, traditions and techniques might survive into the next century

please visit

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2014 12:43 am

    will post this to my facebook & go from there on. this is my kind of project!


  2. January 17, 2014 4:30 pm

    What a wonderful presentation this must have been. I am currently learning this type of weaving (simplified, of course) and it is really challenging. I have a lot of respect for their amazing textiles and culture. I especially like that orange and pale blue number on the left in one of your photos.


    • January 17, 2014 5:22 pm

      Kristin – those textiles are so-o soft and so fine, handspun on drop spindles, natural dyed and woven on backstrap looms. Don’t see that complexity for all our fancy equipment.


      • January 18, 2014 6:11 am

        It really is amazing in all its simplicity…all those patterns hand picked!


      • January 18, 2014 8:40 am

        Kristin – once the patterns and techniques are lost they are gone forever.


  3. January 17, 2014 3:38 pm

    Wow, this is very important! Their work is so beautiful . . .


    • January 17, 2014 4:22 pm

      Kerry – the fact that they are all volunteers and no donated money is going to salaries, advertising and infrastructure is impressive. They are helping young people to get an education who would never have the opportunity otherwise and they make a commitment to go back to their isolated communities. I was extremely impressed.


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