"I mix different threads and yarns, and combine them with embroidery, for example. I really enjoy this — it's definitely my passion and I want to do this forever."
"I'm Teresa Marleny Quijahuaman Yana. I was born in 1969 in the beautiful city of Arequipa with its extraordinary colonial architecture that mixes European characteristics with ancient Peruvian art.
I'm an enterprising woman, constant and responsible. When I was a girl, I'd accompany my mother to her knitting classes, and this marked my life. That's when I discovered my own affinity for this lovely art.
"I was still quite young when I began working. I created children's clothing in small quantities. For this, I used fine yarn from the summer season.
"With perseverance, effort and dedication, my orders began to increase. People asked me for new designs every two weeks and I began adapting my work to the seasons.
"It isn't easy to keep up with the seasonal trends. It's been a challenge to achieve this but it's been worth it. I feel very proud because, when you really want to reach your goals, you can't rest until you do. Even now, I continue striving each day to create quality apparel to distinguish my work from all the rest.
"I firmly believe in the importance of constant innovation. This is what will make you stand out; if not, you'll be left by the wayside, unable to move forward and reach your goals. I also believe that innovation goes hand in hand with personal preparation and training.
"My fascination with textile art arose from its versatility, breadth, and the variety of techniques and materials. They challenge me but encourage me to develop my creativity. I experiment by hand with knitting needles and crochet hooks, and sometimes with a home knitting machine. I mix different threads and yarns, and combine them with embroidery, for example. I really enjoy this — it's definitely my passion and I want to do this forever.
"I usually work in 100% alpaca and baby alpaca, the soft, fine fleece from the season's first shearing.
"My inspiration comes from the beauty and fragility in the natural world that surrounds me. In this place where I grew up and have lived and experienced so much in my life.
"I also find inspiration in the highland communities where I give classes so the artisans there can increase the value of their textile work. At the same time, I learn techniques from them, techniques that are dying out.
"For the future, I hope to keep this workshop that is growing day by day with dedication and work. With the help of my family and children, I believe this will be possible. We do everything with passion and I really enjoy my work. My children are behind me in this. I also want to continue teaching others in small communities so that they can improve their art and also their quality of life."