This is a poncho, the cotton cloth panels handwoven on a backstrap loom by Yine artisans in the mountainous Peruvian Amazon. The story is for lovers of adventure and spontaneity, but it has yet to come to fruition…..

I’ve attended Peru Moda and Home in Lima, Peru – the premier national trade show for textile, decor, manufacturers, fashion, and other supporting industries – several times. At the 2015 event, while busy drinking in the textures and colors, sitting with designers and companies learning about their weaves and stipulations for doing business, etc., I kept seeing this group of indigenous people walking around in their local dress. Black and white was something I hadn’t seen a lot of in the heritage textiles of Peru so I was surprised, and delighted. Their designs are graphic and linear, something that stands out for me among the flora and fauna motifs prevalent in indigenous work. They pepper their outfits with cascades of red beads, worn wrapped and draped, and built into pouches, belts and head pieces.

At some point I went looking for them and found their booth, where I was promptly issued an invitation to go and spend a few days with them in their villages! A few designer-buyers like myself were being invited to participate in their evolving conversation around the design and trade of their heritage crafts and weaves. I said yes immediately. Arrangements were made to fly me to the mountains in a tiny plane that was on loan as part of the managing NGO’s development plan. I was to be at the Lima airport ten days later, to be flown to accommodations in an RV on the airstrip, not too far from the villages. Was I afraid of bugs they asked? Not enough to miss the opportunity. Was I vaccinated against yellow fever? No, but no problem, I could book a mobile doctor service to come with their van to my lodging and take care of it right then and there.

I made my way through already planned stops on my sourcing mission involving Sacred Valley towns brimming with Andean culture and hospitality – personable green mountains, whimsically adorned babies, intentionally cocked hats, and eclectically paired colors filled me up. On the appointed day, I flew back to Lima to catch my tiny flight to spend time with and work with the Yine…

BUT, the vaccine was deemed to be one day short of it’s mandated efficacy window !!!! I was denied passage, and the trip could not be rescheduled. Noooo! I was crushed.

But, I am still planning to get back there.

My Yine poncho decorates the seat at my desk – I have their clean lines and geometries with me all the time.


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