Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Preparing to spin
Shepherd with his sheep
While anxiously awaiting our spring lambs, and  also preparing for a trip to Peru in late May, I present these wonderful old paintings from the Trujillo area of Peru.  I am not sure of the century but they certainly represent another era. Cotton and wool (from sheep) were once major products of Peru, but today so much is imported from China and other third world countries, that it is hard to find good quality hand-made items of wool.  Even in the mountain villages the sacks carried (as we do purses) are of synthetic materials.

 Yes, there is the famous alpaca, but even then one must be warned as more often than not, synthetic material is woven into the fiber, thus reducing the cost and certainly the quality.  Experts say that if you hold the material to the light and can see "sparkle", then it is not pure alpaca.

Shearing the sheep

Shepherdess spinning
When I was in Northern Peru three years ago, we found very few flocks of sheep. We tried many times to find local weavers, but with little success.  One old woman told us that no one wants to raise the animals or do the work today. It is cheaper to just buy imported goods. We did manage to find one woman in the high village of Ayabaca (9000') who had a small flock and was famous for her spinning and weaving. Once  a month she would go down the mountain road  to sell her wares in the city.

One of my favorite stories relates to how people in the mountain areas just show up and then vanish. My friend and guide Jeremy and I were returning to the village of Ayabaca by car, from an afternoon of birding.  Ayabaca is in what is known as a Cloud Forest.

Clouds starting to cover forest

 One has to experience it to believe it.  As you walk suddenly you can't see in front of you for the clouds enveloping everything. Outside the village we stopped for a couple of locals to give them a ride, but as we were to stop at the weavers, they hopped out when we arrived at her house. As we got back in the car to return to the village,  which we could not see in front of us, I turned to Jeremy in the back seat and there sat a strange man.  I asked, "who is he?"  Jeremy replied, "I haven't a clue, he just needs a ride!"

Sheep returning home in the Clouds

No comments:

Post a Comment