Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



In Approaching Textiles, Varying Viewpoints: Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2000


Copyright © 2000 by the author(s).


The weavers of the Kolla Community of the Argentine Andean highlands or Puna, show strong preferences for the use of certain color combinations. These preferences seem to be more stable over time than their use of traditional technology and materials, which change more often according to utilitarian reasons. As it happens with food preferences, the use of color can show a strong sign of cultural identity that, in this case, can be traced to pre-columbian times.

During our work with traditional Andean weavers from seven communities in the Humahuaca Valley and Altiplano of Jujuy (about 800 families), we came across several interesting examples of this phenomenon. The goals of our program combine the creation of new sources of employment for these economically marginal communities with the restoration of traditional Andean textile designs and techniques, including the use of llama wool, hand spinning, dyeing with local plants and minerals, and loom weaving. We believe the best way of organizing teaching and production is by strengthening the Andean communal forms of organization and exchange.