Tubular Woven Bands and Other Andean Decorative Finishes
For Andean weavers, removing a piece of intricately patterned woven cloth from the backstrap loom does not signal an end but rather the beginning of a whole new process which involves finishing the piece with a series of colorful embellishments. A variety of braids, pom-poms, straps and decorative edging stitches are added depending on whether the piece is being made for everyday or ceremonial use. Tubular bands such as the ñawi awapa, with its distinctive eye pattern, are simultaneously woven and sewn to the edges of cloth to strengthen, decorate and counteract the curling that often occurs as a result of the use of over-twisted yarn. They can also be woven as independent bands.
“Chuspas”, small pouches in which coca leaves are carried, will be edged with decorative stitches adding strength, color, texture and dimension. Pom poms will swing from the ends of braids attached to the bottom of the pouches which have been edged with beautiful coiled and cross-knit looped stitches. In this class, we will learn to weave a ñawi awapa as an independent tubular band and then practice creating Andean embellishments on pieces of cloth woven with handspun yarn by weavers of the Bolivian highlands. Participants will make a sampler edged with a tubular band, coil stitches, cross knit looping and braids. Each person will then be able to select techniques from those studied during the two-day class to dress up a small colorful woven “chuspa”.