"...it's easy to become discouraged in adverse situations but that is where our strength is to be found. This was true for me."
"I'm Aquilina Quispe Huamani. I was born in 1960 in a town in Ayacucho. It is beautiful here and this area is known for our thermal pools, our archaeology and our ecological scenarios.
"I consider myself an enterprising woman and very responsible. Above all I keep my word and work until I achieve my goals.
"One of the most difficult moments for me was when I was setting up my weaving workshop. Like everything else, this was not simple. Often, at first, I didn't make enough money and it's easy to become discouraged in adverse situations but that is where our strength is to be found. This was true for me. Many doors closed and, in addition, I lacked administrative and leadership abilities. How was it possible to continue? I asked myself.
"Then I thought about my family and I promised them that I'd get ahead no matter what. That I'd do whatever it took. And that's what I did. I worked tirelessly, continued to study and train to be the best I could be — not only as an artisan but also as a person.
"I became interested in this art through my mother and my grandparents. They wove winter apparel and accessories such as ponchos, blankets, throws and belts. It was impossible not to feel an attraction for this art. It's a way to express feelings, moods and affection. I saw this when my mother personalized her weavings with our names or with designs allusive to each of our personalities.
"I learned our traditional weaving styles with my mother and my grandmother. Then an ONG introduced me to Isulina Roque, a teacher who helped me so much in perfecting the techniques I already knew. Constantino Laura is another great teacher who taught me new techniques for abstract motifs and shading colors on the loom. I learned now use these new skills in my own designs.
"This beautiful sensation when I weave makes me feel very happy because it transports me to my childhood and the experiences with my family. This is why I love creating Andean apparel and accessories that women can use and feel elegant. I craft each piece with much love.
"I enjoy combining colors, and I especially like creating new designs. I continue learning every day because this is the key to excellence. Learning is a challenge that I'm happy to face.
"Everyday life inspires me a lot, from my childhood memories in the Peruvian sierra — green fields, rivers, blue skies, the peace and tranquility of the countryside — to the respect and care we have for the sun, the earth and the moon, everything that gives us life.
"I dream that our traditional Inca textile legacy will receive the recognition it deserves and that people understand and value our fabric arts. I'm interested in incorporating them into today's fashion and, as an artisan, I hope to continue developing my art and my talent."