Brent Akins in Peru – PART IV
Master weaver, board member, student sponsor, and father of Mosqoy’s director – finally made a trip to Peru, to see the impact Mosqoy has had over the past six years. Here, he shares the unforgettable experiences that he and his wife Marka (also a student sponsor and Ashli’s mother) walked away with. Read Brent’s bio
PART FOUR: Blood or bug?
The next day was supposed to be a day off, resting after hiking around Machu Picchu. However, Ashli had other plans. She surprised us with an all-day dye workshop from the weavers of Parobamba. They took three days out of their lives to hike down to Huaran to meet us at Frida’s Place. They brought four different plants with them to make into the natural dyes they use for their yarn. Leaves, bark, and vines were broken down with rocks and then thrown into pots to boil. After soaking the yarn for a few minutes, they pulled out incredible colours of yellow, orange, and blue.
One of their favourite colours is a red derived from the cochineal bug, an insect that clings to cacti. However, it is very expensive to buy and not common to gather where the weavers live, so they hadn’t brought any along. Ashli noticed some cacti on Urpi’s farm, so off we went to see if there were any cochineal. Sure enough, one group of cacti was covered. After scraping a few bugs off with my fingers, I wasn’t sure if the red on my hands was dye from the bugs or blood from the cactus poking my fingers! The weavers took our ‘crop’ and proceeded to boil it down and dye a skein of yarn into a rich deep red. It was amazing to witness the entire sequence, deriving a colour from beginning to end.
After the workshop, the Parobamba weavers laid out their weavings and we added to our incredible collection of textiles, which by now was starting to fill a suitcase. Our big order for the weavers was a bedspread for Marka’s birthday. It will take six weavers to make it over the next month. I can’t wait to see it!
TO BE CONTINUED…