Peruvian Pebble Weave

In November there was Tinkuy de Tejedores (a gathering of weavers) in Peru. I would love to have gone, but it was not in the cards. Several people I know and/or have met from Guatemala, Bolivia, El Salvador, Chile and Peru, as well as the U.S., were going to be there. But more than that. The pre-Columbian weaving that is still being done in the highlands of Peru is incredible. No one should ever underestimate the ancestors.

Trying to learn a little about this weaving, I found an article by Doramay Keasbey in a Handwoven magazine from January/February 2000 that explained how to do Peruvian pebble weave on a floor loom (instead of the backstrap loom commonly used by Peruvian weavers). I put on a long warp and started weaving bookmarks.

I used the designs from the article and then branched out to try other possibilities. The bottom bookmark is from a Chinese lattice design. Lattices made from wood were used in window openings in China for many years and have been documented in a book I acquired some years ago. I also found a pre-Columbian Inca design, which is seen in the bookmark on the left.

Intrigued by this complex pick-up weave, I came across a recent publication by Laverne Waddington, a woman who lives in Bolivia with whom I had earlier corresponded about the ergonomic benches for backstrap weavers being developed by Synergo Arts. Laverne, who is from Australia, is a teacher of English and weaving who is doing an incredible job of learning, documenting, and teaching indigenous backstrap weaving. She has recently published an e-book through Weavezine on Andean Pebble Weave.

I think I see a backstrap loom in my future and further exploration of this and other pick up weaves. I just received the most recent Handwoven magazine (January/February 2011) with articles by both Doramay and Laverne on pick up weaves. Too much to do, too little time!