Women Making Dye

Date: 2008
Owner: Kristian Golding
Source Type: Images


These women are working to produce dyes that will color homespun thread. The thread will then be woven into textiles using a backstrap loom, a type that has been used in the Andes for thousands of years and is still common among indigenous peoples throughout Latin America. Their minimal frames make them easy to build and repair and allow women to erect and disassemble them for daily transport and storage. Although modern manufactured dyes have become common in handmade Andean textiles, the cloth is still usually spun by hand using a traditional drop spindle, a portable tool that can spin fine cloth while a woman goes about her daily routine. The shuttles and picks are also similar to those employed in the pre-Columbian era and are made mostly of bone or wood. Like the traditional designs they weave, the ancient techniques of Andean textile making help to perpetuate the warp and the weft of Incan identity while also producing beautiful cloths like the one in the background of this photograph.

These women are from Cha'ri, a town about 150 miles from Cuzco. They work as part of the 200 member Inkakunaq Ruwaynin organization, a collective of South Andean weavers. The organization promotes fair trade policies in an effort to prevent the demands of the global market from destroying their traditional crafts.

CITATION: Kristian Golding. "Dye how-to in Cusco, Peru." October, 2008.