As you may know, the focus of Awamaki’s Awamaki Lab project is to connect local Peruvian artisans with increased access to international consumer markets through innovation in design. This mission is fulfilled by recruiting designers from around the world to work directly with Awamaki’s artisans to create new and exciting products to showcase their work. As new designs are introduced, several different groups of women take part in helping to create the new products, all of whom play an integral part in the success of Awamaki Lab.

Today the project had a mini-triumph of sorts when one of Awamaki’s weavers from the high-Andean community of Kelkanka came to the office to receive an order. The women from this community, as well as several other communities in the valley, only speak Quechua, the ancient language of the Inca, and therefore it can often prove difficult for spanish speakers at Awamaki to facilitate meetings amongst multiple groups of Quechua speakers. However, the women of our sewing cooperative are fluent Quechua speakers as well, and took it upon themselves to use the rare office visit by the Quelquanka group as a chance to do some teaching amongst each other.

The seamstresses demonstrated to the weavers how they incorporate their textiles into bags, skirts, iPad cases, wallets and other Awamaki Lab products. The seamstresses then proceeded to explain their side of the production process, and the weavers theirs as well. Both groups were happy to learn more about the other’s role in the production process, and ended the interaction with a discussion about how the two groups could make minor adjustments within their processes to make the work of the other easier and more efficient.

It was extremely exciting for us to watch the women from these two communities interact and share their side of the production process! It’s not often that the groups find each other in the same place at the same time, with a chance for highly effective collaboration! The accidental meeting was so successful that Awamaki Lab has decided to bring all of the weavers down to our Ollantaytambo-based sewing studio to meet with the seamstresses and share their experiences.

Effective communication, like that described in this blog post, allows Awamaki Lab to make huge progressive strides in our work.  It is the different groups of women at Awamaki that shape the success of the organization, and when organic successes come to fruition, it is very encouraging for all involved parties! Awamaki Lab is looking froward to more meetings like this one in the future, and hopes that enhanced communication will pave the way to continued success!