As the former advisor to the first lady of Peru, Marta Castañeda traveled extensively to different areas around the country. Wherever she went, she couldn’t help but marvel at the abundance of highly talented native artisans. Struck by the evident quality of their craftsmanship, Marta left her post to refocus her career on creating a global market for traditional Peruvian artistry.
She enlisted her sister, Sandra Castañeda, and together they founded País Textil to implement social development projects in crafts and manufacturing throughout rural and urban areas.
País Textil trains and supports native Peruvian artisans, obtaining fair prices for their work and fostering ancient textile weaving techniques to enhance the value of traditional Peruvian handicrafts. País promotes the use of first-class materials and strives to create contemporary designs immersed in the textile living culture of Peru.
DARA Artisans is delighted to feature the Diamond Clutch and Arrows Clutch from País textil’s Super Coya collection, a line of handwoven bags and accessories. Both clutches are inspired by chuspas, small bags with fringe and tassels that have been used in the Andes for centuries.
The Super Coya collection combines modern trends with pre-Hispanic textile techniques. Each piece is handwoven with pima cotton on backstrap looms by Tejedores de Cajamarquilla (Weavers of Cajamarquilla). This association of men and women migrated from Andean regions like Ayacucho, Junin, Huanuco and Huancavelica and now live on the outskirts of Lima, near the archaeological complex of Cajamarquilla.
Marta Castañeda told HAND/EYE Magazine, “When we talk about training in pre-Hispanic textile techniques, we also talk about the diversity that is Peru, so that each of the projects we implement requires a project design that fits the reality of the place where we want to work…We have made recovery processes of backstrap loom weaving techniques…teaching them again to use backstrap looms like their ancestors.”
The backstrap loom is elegant in its simplicity. Cajamarquilla weavers secure one end of the loom to a stationary object, like a tree, and fasten the other end around their backs with a strap. The weavers can then control the tension of the threads using their own body weight.
Combining this ancient technique with a contemporary design aesthetic, País endeavors to generate an ongoing, profitable business for the Cajamarquilla artisans.