A Beautiful Tradition
The History of the Indigenous Artisans of Ecuador goes back 9,000 years. Work tools have been discovered that prove this fact! Quichua is the largest of their tribes. The alpaca have existed in the Andes for 5,000 years. They are gentle and intelligent animals which live in herds. Alpacas graze on the level heights of the Andes of Ecuador, southern Peru, northern Bolivia, and northern Chile at an altitude of 11,000 ft to 16,000 ft above sea-level. Today there are about 3.5 million alpacas in the Andean Highlands.
When the alpacas were discovered it was the beginning of a life changing transformation. In order to keep warm in the bitter winters of the Andes Mountains, the tribes began shearing the alpacas and utilizing their warm, silky fleece for much needed blankets and ponchos. This was a lot of work but the benefits of the alpaca could not be denied. Quickly it was realized how desirable this alpaca fleece could be. The families decided to turn this practice into their livelihood and the traditions have since then been passed down to each generation.
To this day, it has evolved into a respectable business of pride and history. Throughout the years, the family has improved their craft by discovering new techniques for their children. All because of their hard work they can now afford education so that they may continue to develop their skills and preserve their indigenous legacies. Juan Miguel who is now in charge of his family business donates a lot of his time to teach young aspiring artisans the skill of blanket weaving. Because of him, young artisans have opportunities to showcase their art at popular markets like the one in the picture below.
The people who enjoy these blankets should know that they come from a place of true honor and love. Juan Miguel and his family are grateful that Pearth has taken appreciation of their art and is spreading awareness of their traditions to the rest of the world. Each handcrafted blanket that is shared generates income and makes a substantial impact on these Ecuadorian families. Those who enjoy craft and culture can embrace the true peace that these beautiful blankets represent.