Felipa Condori is an artisan who makes arts with her hands. Her mother taught her, when she was a child, to knit with a loom. To create her high standard artisanal products Felipa does not use sheep’s wool, she weaves using only 100% alpaca wool.
Alpaca wool has many advantages. First of all it has a very fine and light fleece. Also, it does not retain water. In addition, it is thermal even when it is wet and can resist solar radiation. Felipa knows all these positive properties of the alpaca wool, and for these reasons she avoids mixing it with sheep wood, as other artisans do.
In 2009 Felipa got the Seal of Excellence from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for her creation “Bufanda Mariposa” (Butterfly Scarf). Because of this seal Felipa has been invited to participate in different craft fairs. The last one was the “Expo Lanas” (Fleece Fair), in Santiago, the capital of Chile, in July of 2013. She could show and sell her crafts to thousands of visitors.
One of the things that I admire about Felipa is she produces her own material to do her craft, because she has her own herd of alpacas. She is in charge of shearing them and prepares her own wool to knit on the loom. Moreover she lives in one of the furthest and highest regions of Chile, Visviri (4.069 m.a.s.l). It is a difficult place to live, but she loves her countryside.
Felipa is an entrepreneurial Aymara woman (a kind of indigenous community which has lived in the Andes for many years in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina area). When I interviewed her, I asked her what she thought about her job. “I could raise my children with my job, and also I was able to spend a lot of time with them at home. That is the advantage of being a woman artisan, you can share so much time with your family, and that is really important”, she said.
Este 21 de junio de 2013 se realizó la celebración del año nuevo aimara, año 5521. Como equipo nos trasladamos a participar de esta festividad en la comuna de Putre, la que se dio inicio a las 7:48 A.M.
Por problemas logísticos no pudimos participar de la ceremonia que recibe lo primeros rayos del sol, sí participamos de la guatia, una especie de curanto nortino. La carne de los animales que se sacrificaron para el recibimiento del nuevo año se preparan para cocinarlos y compartir la celebración de este nuevo año. Esto consiste en cocinar la carne bajo tierra con piedras calientes.