The Monumental site of Chotuna-chornancap offers the local community huge opportunity for traditional weavers to earn a sustainable living, protect the site and preserve their own artisanal cultural heritage
SPI has built a new workshop and retail space for artisans on the site, and also built a new store at the nearby Brüning National Museum. The 'Ceterni' brand has been created and new lines of products are sold throughout Peru. The business is now self-managing, requiring no more training from SPI!
Since 2013, sales have grown hugely annually, including rising over 40% in 2016! Total sales have exceeded $9,000 dollars, with new sales channels yet to come.
Local women artisans have formed a new association with a strong vision to benefit their families and community through the sale of their products. A local manager has received dedicated training in leadership and business skills.
The ancient practice of the back-strap loom has been reinvigorated in the artisans and unique, high-quality hand-crafted goods incorporating local archaeological iconography are being created. Watch one of our artisans, Felicitia Acosta Chapoñán (who recently won a regional competition) create one of her textiles here.
Native cotton plants have been planted in an effort to once again produce raw cotton locally, which is now being used in products.
The big thing we have learned
Domestic duties were a large barrier to women committing time to the project. To overcome this we welcomed the women's husbands into the project, making them vital participants and accelerating efforts to create economic development!
SPI continues to work with this unique artisan community. Particularly we need funds to provide key managerial and business training to allow the community to work better together, and help each other!
Maria Soplanuco learned to weave at age 14, copying the designs her mother made on a traditional back-strap loom. With constant practice her skills became perfected and she began to experiment, making scarves, belts and whatever her friends and relatives in the community of Chotuna, on Peru’s north coast, asked for. When Maria was 20 years old, she got married and the demands of family life meant that she had to put these skills away.
Maria was encouraged to attend the SPI project by her husband and children because they knew how much she loved to make things. In 2018, Maria traveled to Lima to attend Peru’s largest craft fair. She says: “It was very nice, I have met artisans from the north and all other parts of the country. Thanks to SPI there are more sales and opportunities for us.” She says that other women in the community are not lucky enough to have supportive families who let them attend workshops and participate in the business. She says: “The business is very special; it’s already ours, something we have to preserve.” Maria is doing that by passing her skills to the next generation. She is teaching her 17-year-old daughter to weave. “Every time I start weaving, she says ‘Mum, show me’, so I tell her to grab the loom and wear it. I want to continue to teach the technique, so it does not get lost.”