Of Memory and Hope

Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez  
Nilda shares Andean techniques at CTTC  

Theologians speak of the “community of memory and hope,” and to think of community in this way has always been very powerful for me. I just returned from Peru where I had the privilege of attending Tinkuy de Tejedores, the Gathering of the Weavers of the Americas, and the experience brought home to me how much our worldwide weaving community is also one of memory and hope.


Many times during our visit, Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, founder and director of the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, spoke of the Center’s efforts to revive weaving traditions among the communities of the Andean highlands, techniques that had almost disappeared except in the memories of a few elders and in scraps of old household fabrics. She spoke of the pride and hope that weaving has brought to her people, and also of the fragility of these traditions, so easily lost with changing economies and the passing of a single generation.



Weavers of the Americas gathered at Tinkuy

to share and learn from one another

In this season of thanksgiving, I return to my home and my weaving with renewed gratitude. I am thankful to be part of a passionate and diverse community of weavers around the world. I am thankful to have met the skilled weavers of Peru, who create such beauty, who live so lightly upon the earth, and who welcomed us with such generosity and joy. And I am thankful for the many people who have worked to teach, document, and preserve weaving traditions so that they will not be lost to us — art historians and textile experts, weavers, writers and teachers, from Mary Meigs Atwater and Mary Black to Marguerite Davison, Carol Strickler, and Sharon Alderman, and our own Weaving Today study group mentors. From the basics of warping to the possibilities and challenges of doubleweave pickup, we are so fortunate in the many weaving resources available to us. May we treasure the knowledge, nurture it, and pass it on in the same generous spirit with which it is given to us.


Blessings to you and yours this holiday season. May you weave in peace.


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