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Nilda Callanaupa Alvarez is a native of Chinchero, the Peruvian mountain village immortalized in The Motorcycle Diaries. She was identified by anthropologists at an early age as having an unusual capacity for understanding and recreating historic weaving technique, and was invited to demonstrate at the Smithsonian Institution even before she learned English. After receiving a degree in tourism from the University of Cusco, she founded the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, a combination school/gallery/museum, and established weaving co-ops in nine far-flung mountain villages to perpetuate traditional techniques and quality and build economic development in these fragile societies. She lives in Cusco with her husband and two sons.
""This beautiful book is both a celebration of cultural survival and homage to one of the greatest art forms ever brought into being by the human imagination, the textile traditions of Andean Peru. But it also brings together two women whose friendship over forty years must surely rank as one of the most creative and significant collaborations in the history of anthropology. When Chris Franquemont and her late husband Ed first met Nilda as a young girl of fourteen, who could have known that the result would be the very rebirth and reinvention of a craft that more than any other had expressed the essence of life in the Andes for 4000 years. Nilda Callanaupa has become a living treasure in Peru; the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco an inspiration to all. Chris Franquemont was literally the godmother of both. This book is their gift to the world." Wade Davis, explorer-in-residence, National Geographic Society""" ""An elegant, soulful book unlike any other I have held in my hands. It is a call for the honoring and preservation of culture through tapestries, through weaving, through the dignity of those who listen to the truth of their lives with their hands. This is a book about time and beautywoven together through weavers stories. A review in five words: portraits of integrity and love." Terry Tempest Williams, author, """ When Women Were Birds" ""As one would expect from Nilda Callanaupa, who has devoted her life to weaving, this book is a well-made labor of love which pays tribute to the most enduring and emotive of Andean traditions. The photographic portraits, by Joe Coca, are sensitive and dignified." Hugh Thomson, author, " The White Rock"