BRISTOL-The Lawrence Memorial Library in Bristol continues its look at world cultures with an upcoming event, "An Inca Village Today: The Children's Weaving Club."
The event will be held March 17 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the library in Bristol.
Presenters Libby and David VanBuskirk of Charlotte worked with Peruvian master weaver Nilda Calla aupa to found the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco. Libby, a writer and textile specialist. They will tell stories about village families and children and how they learn to weave, while David, child psychiatrist and photographer, shows slides from the extensive photo-documentation project he conducted during their many trips to Peru.
In the high Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia, Inca families still practice their most cherished pre-Columbian traditions. Weaving has, for centuries, been central to this process.
Weavers still gather to spin and create their extraordinary textiles. The children join in with great interest. By five or six, children are able to spin fine yarn. At the same age they weave narrow bands called "jakimas" to learn each of their village patterns. Thus they can eventually make larger works by joining patterns, altering patterns, burying hints of patterns, and using patterns in outstanding color combinations. Inca patterns carry layers of meaning and ideas that have been transferred, without the use of written notations, from generation to generation.
In the l990s Peruvian master weaver Nilda Calla aupa perceived that children in her home village of Chinchero were no longer learning their repertoire of patterns. Andean weaving traditions were in danger of extinction in one generation. She realized that something had to be done to help the small Inca villages preserve their textile traditions.
Nilda, with Libby and David VanBuskirk of Vermont, founded the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco.
At the time Nilda was in the United States to give lectures and workshops at UVM, Harvard and other colleges and schools. In Vermont the plan was hatched and the Center was first established as a special project of Cultural Survival in Cambridge, Mass. Since that time the Center has greatly expanded, working with ten Andean communities, with its own Center building in the heart of Cusco and supported by grants, donations, and sales of the finest textiles that are again being made.
Libby, a writer, educator, and specialist in Inca culture, has traveled frequently to Peru to research Inca textiles. She has co-taught courses at The University of Vermont on Inca history and culture. She served as kit developer and writer of The Incas, Past and Present, the Fleming Museum's traveling kit for loan to Vermont teachers. She has given many school presentations and lectures.
David, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Vermont, has made many trips south of our border photographing indigenous people, weavers, villages, and textiles in Central and South America.
His photographs are part of a many-faceted effort to document Inca traditions and textile arts, to encourage indigenous Quechua-speaking weavers to continue their work, and to educate the international community about the rich culture of the Andes.