The mountainous province of Puno in south-west Peru is the wold centre of the art of weaving Alpaca and llama wool.
CU, GV, MS llamas silhouetted against sky at sunset in field (six shots).
GV outside Rancho Sulleta with buildings of village and bridge
MS man working loom finishing off poncho
MS's spinning wheel turning alpaca and llama wool worked by women by foot movement. the centuries old machine is called the "rueca".
CU babies on womens back while they work
CU woman knitting wool. CU foot pedalling spinning wheel, woman stretching wool of alpaca. CU ZOOM OUT men working loom, peasants watching.
GV artisan community holding up wears.
because of poor light, film one stop underexposed throughout.
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Background: The mountainous province of Puno in south-west Peru is the wold centre of the art of weaving Alpaca and llama wool. Since 1970 the formerly isolated villages have joined forces into producing for a central market, after being formed into a cooperative system including 46 Centres of artisanship. Financial aid - which comes from a series of international bodies from Canada, United States, Britain, West Germany and Holland - stood last year at two million soles (about 20 thousand sterling) ??? expected to rise 20 million soles (about 200 thousand sterling) this year. The Roman Catholic social relief organisation CARITAS claims it is possible for the Indian weavers to absorb the cultural shock inherent in the sudden leap in output for a FAST growing and far more international market. Artisans have been encouraged to manage their own financial books and, CARITAS, adds, they have shown a positive reaction to mechanisation. The introduction of machines - although adapted to the style and tradition of different types of weavers in order to build on the ancient culture - has been slow to catch on. Only five of the cooperatives have accepted machines. These produce four or five ponchos a day - as against two to three ponchos a week by the artisan villages using the age-old hand-dominated weaving systems.
The villages persistence in the old traditions can appear highly impractical and perhaps idiosyncratic. I found the ??? artisan cooperative of Rancho Sulleta working at night without ??? Sort of light under conditions in which only superb skills with hands and feet would be enough to combat the dark, and the freezing mountain air. The area is a natural site for wool weaving, being at a point of 12,000 feet where llamas can be seen as frequently as people.
The artisan makes ponchos, sweaters, skirts, dresses, scarves, carpets and gloves the following way. The llama is shaved of its fleece at least twice a year. The first stage of work involves cleaning the wool of impurities like straw and twigs by pulling them out with their fingers which they then roll up into one long strand. The strand is then put on to a kind of spinning nagcane controlled by foot movement which draws it out further to give it tension. The strand is then transferred for thinning and turning on an upright wooden stick. This prepares the wool for knitting which is done at high speed by women - or weaving on a wooden loom, mainly operated by the men of the village. The completed garment is then washed in luke-warm water before being hung up in the village shed to dry and eventually sent to market.