Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Taquileño Whirlwind Tour in New Mexico and Colorado

--Part 1, Albuquerque

IAF Conference in Albuquerque, November 16 - 20, 2010
The 5 groups hosted by the Inter American Foundation--from Peru, Panama, Mexico and Bolivia--toured museums and native cultural centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.Here Juan and Luz speak on the Taquile solution.
The conference featured panels on such subjects as how to enhance income from tourism while maintaining the community's cultural integrity.
The final evening featured a whirling dances from our Taquileño group.Loey Cohen Kirk hosted a dinner in her home for all the Taquileños. A delightful evening of food, music and dance.
The Taquileños brought 100 SuperBright (and super efficient) LED light strips back home to Taquile Island. They use small solar panels to supply power, so efficiency is important.
See earlier blogs (April, 2010 Solar Panel Trade, and Feb 2010, Background) for more stories about solar electricity on Taquile.

Taquileño Whirlwind Tour--Part 2, Arvada and Aspen

After the conference in Albuquerque, Sam and Tara brought three of the Taquileños, Silvano Huatta Yucra, Juan Quispe Huatta, and Luz Medy Flores Machaca for a grand adventure in Colorado.

Our first stop was Boulder for a traditional Thanksgiving with Tara's sister, Judy Hill Lovins and her son and his wife, Miles Hill and Nastassia Urlapava-Hill. Before dinner we attended a beautiful Thanksgiving service at Unity Church in Boulder.
Sam, Silvano, Juan and Luz at Unity Church

Sam and I were scheduled to sell our pottery in Arvada, Colorado at the Holiday Craft Fair at the beautiful Arvada Center over Thanksgiving Weekend, so we happily were able to secure a space for the three Taquile visitors. The fair director's daughter-in law, Olga Pense, helped sell and translate. She was a great help and we all fell in love with each other.
Pictured are Olga Pense, Silvano Huatta and Luz Medy Flores in their booth at Arvada.

Luz demonstrated her detailed weaving techniques with a display of wrist ties nearby.
Here Silvano is helping Luz to find thread colors as Juan looks on.

Luz, Silvano and Juan prepare to dance through the fair in traditional Sicuris costumes.

Next stop, Aspen, hosted by Judy Hill and Amory Lovins.

We enjoyed dinner and a tour of the Rocky Mountain Institute, "The Banana Farm." Learn more at http://www.rmi.orgPictured are Silvano Huatta, Amory Lovins, Sam Brown, Judy Hill, Juan Quispe and Luz Medy Flores

Thanks to The Aspen Skiing Company which gave us complimentary tickets to ride to the top of Aspen Mountain. Silvano had spent his life looking at the snow-capped peaks across Lake Titicaca, dreaming of someday being IN the middle of the snow. This was a dream come true.
Juan, Luz and Silvano, preparing to ride the gondola

Judy and Silvano in the Gondola, with the town of Aspen below

Luz Medy Flores, on top of the world!

Silvano Huatta Yucra , celebrating his dream of being in the middle of snowy mountains!

On November 29, we gave a public presentation at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies which included a slide show, dancing, textile demonstration and a talk from Juan about the Andean World View and how it relates an experience of nature as expressed in the complex symbols within the textiles of Taquile Culture. The presentation was repeated in Paonia the following week.

Taquileño Whirlwind Tour--Part 3, Paonia

Finally we arrived at our own home in Paonia. Many of our local friends got a chance to meet our Peruvian friends after hearing about them all of these years. We were interviewed on our local community radio station, KVNF. You can listen to the interview on the KVNF archives at

In the bamboo room recording the interview at KVNF

We entered the door of the Christmas party at the Schweiderman household dancing and playing the pan pipes.
Pictured here at the party: Silvano, Katya, Leanne, Luz, Neil and Juan

Larry Garret of Aero Tow Unlimited gave each of us an airplane ride around Lamborn Mountain in his little two seater. What a thrill!!!
Luz in the airplane. She loved it.

We sold both pottery and textiles at the Blue Sage Holiday Art Fair. With our two booths we took over the whole stage with a colorful display.
Juan, Tara, Luz and Sam with textiles and pottery

Sue Pritchett came all the way from Lake Tahoe to be with our Taquile Family. She was a big help at the Craft Fair.
Luz and Sue
On Monday, December 6, We gave a presentation at the Blue Sage in Paonia. The show included textile demonstrations and sales, a slide show, a talk from Juan about the Andean World View as expressed in the symbols of the Taquile traditional textiles, music and dance.
Luz twirls with Michael Soule

Dancing on the Stage at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts

Daniel translated for Juan

After our presentations we made an excursion to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, on the North side out of Montrose. That same day we did some shopping and soaked in Ouray Hot Springs.
Silvano, Luz, Sam and Juan at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Juan at the Black Canyon

Conclusion: A once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us. Our relationships deepened, we were able to share our Peruvian friends with our New Mexico and Colorado friends.