Quietly tucked away in the quiet corners past the commercial centers of Otavalo and Peguchi is the small and unassuming community of San Roque (located approximately 20 minutes from Otavalo, 10 minutes from Peguche).
Here I was warmly received by Nelson Cordova, one of two sons that still continue the art of handmade weaving that was taught by his father. All the family members participate in the production. The women tend to dedicate themselves to the preparation of materials … from spinning and dying the yarn. The dying process if mainly from nogal (or walnut), including the bark, nut and leaves. The mean, in contrast, generally dedicate themselves to actual weaving.
While Nelson patiently went to work on various works of art and patience, of various colours and sizes he would explain the process from scratch. He also related life in the community and the indigenous way of life … adding a more rounded understanding of the whole process.
As Nelson explained that today there are fewer and fewer indigenous people that maintain the old customs of manual weaving, opting to work in surrounding farms and fabrication plants. He explained that mass volume, machine-produced items are driving this way of life into extinction. The textile plants easily copy the designs and churn out apparently similar products at a much lower cost and in great volume.
Only through direct experience, watching these artisan hard at work with their hands and imagination, does one gain a deeper appreciation of the laborious and meticulous art of hand-weaving, knowledge and skills that have been handed down generation after generation.
In our continuing and dedicate efforts to protect Ecuador’s natural and cultural history, we (Robin Slater and Sangay Touring) are in the process of planning and arranging private educational tours for individuals, groups and institutions that wish to, not only experience and witness first-hand manual weaving, but contribute directly to continued survival of the local indigenous community of San Roque, Imbabura and the local weavers
Other sample images ..