Maria’s Peruvian Profile: The Education of Art

Artisan in Andes mountains Santa Cruz, Cajamarca, Peru

As a stuggling mother, Maria saved for a month to be able to afford the S/.10 ($3.50) passage to compete in an artisan fair an hour from her home. When I approached her booth she laid her sleeping 3 year old son on the dirt floor and greeted me with a larger than life smile. Observing the intricate stitching it was clear to me that all of her products had been made by hand, and I had to find out more!

Maria lives in a district of Santa Cruz called Chancay. She is a loving mother who lives in a humble home in the middle of the countryside. Her children walk an hour each way to get to the small public school in Chancay.

With less than an elementary school education she is not able to read or write. Instead she spends her time mastering the art of hand making blankets.

Each full size blanket takes about a year to complete and without electricity Maria spends long nights working by the light of a candle. Proudly she can explain the ancient Peruvian meaning behind each pattern that she has learned from stories passed down generation after generation.

Creativity is alive and well in this small Andes town in the North of Peru!