In my time on assignment with Photographer’s Without Borders documenting the work of Awamaki, I explored the various ways they are making an impact via social enterprise and how they are connecting the indigenous communities to a global market via weaving.
Currently they work with 160 women across 5 cooperatives, but the effect is a ripple that empowers whole communities. Kids are able to attend school, they can build homes and put roofs over heads.
The beauty of the work the women in the cooperative create is made even more significant by the fact that everything they create all completely stems from the land. Alpaca give their yarn which is then worked through the unbelievably timely and beautiful creative processes of spinning, dyeing from plants and minerals harvested from the land then knitted or woven into masterpieces. Patterns and imagery come from memory and are always thought of in relation to the land and the gods. These patterns and colors are specific to regions and act as a kind of fingerprint of a community.
When I took on this assignment with Photographers Without Borders I couldn’t anticipate how powerful telling their story would effect me, or how much I would learn to appreciate a creative process so intricate, delicate and embedded fully in a culture.
Weaving is not only an art into itself, but in it’s in process, history and storytelling.