With a Little Help from My Friends

When I think of the Peruvian highlands, one of the first images that comes to mind is a steep and winding dirt road with switchbacks stretching out as far as the eye can see, and mid-vision, a tiny figure walking along at a steady pace. She’s wearing her many skirts (for warmth), and her beautifully patterned handwoven manta holds the produce she’s taking to market for trade, the carefully saved money to buy medicine for her inevitable arthritis, and maybe even her grandchild.

A woman walks with sheep and llamas in highlands of Peru, her colorful manta, filled with life’s necessities. Photo by Joe Coca from Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of the Andes.

The market might be ten miles away, maybe farther. She will get there, tend to her business, and then walk back home. It’s what she does to get by.

In these times of global pandemic, even that might not be enough. Potato harvest won’t begin until May; tourists have all left the country, so textile sales have dropped to zero. There’s no safety net for so many of the weavers.

Potato harvest in Patabamba. Photo by Joe Coca from Faces of Tradition: Weaving Elders of the Andes.

We at Thrums Books have had the privilege of spending many weeks among the weavers of the Cusco district. In spite of their challenging lifestyle, they’ve shared with us their hospitality, their warming lunches of quinoa soup, their playful games of high-altitude soccer, and best of all, their glorious weaving. The books we’ve published in cooperation with the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco are among our favorites. And while we’ve always donated back to CTTC and the weaving communities, right now we’d like to do a little more.

Quechua women from the Peruvian highlands play an impromptu game of soccer at 14,000 feet. Photograph by Joe coca from The Human Thread: Photography of Joe Coca.

So for the month of April, half of all the money we receive for sales of our Peru-related books, either print or digital, will go directly to CTTC for an emergency relief fund for the weavers. Maybe it’s time for you to add to your library, or to gift a friend. Every little bit helps.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


—Linda Ligon

SHOP at Thrums Books and support the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco.

Malcare WordPress Security