#EveryStitchaStory: Global Giving Bonus Day

By Helen Johnston, Marketing and Communications Intern

From the wool of Peruvian alpacas to the handbag over your shoulder, do you ever wonder how we go from traditional textiles to favorite accessories? Exquisite weavings done by artisans like Gregoria (you can learn more about her here) don’t turn into our high quality products overnight. Insert Señor Tomás, a master-sewer with over 15 years of experience. “I learned how to sew when I was a little kid, working in an industrial factory,” he shared with us. About 27 years ago, Señor Tomás moved to Chinchero, Perú, where he encountered female artisans creating a myriad of beautiful textiles. Awestruck by the elegance of their work, he found that his passions lay in the weaving tradition of the Andes. 

Señor Tomás started working with Awamaki two years ago, and he has established incredibly strong relationships with the women in our partner cooperatives ever since. He collaborates with them and teaches them how to elevate their work. Señor Tomas turns the beautiful, traditional textiles that our partner artisans create into modern, useful pieces. He explained that “for each bag, you need a distinct style.” These distinct styles allow for creative expression by the women artisans. To ensure standard dimensions, Señor Tomás notes, “The women need to follow exact measurements to make sure our products are high quality,” and he can often be found teaching the women the importance of quality control.

This upcoming July 18th, Awamaki is raising money for a new leather machine for our studio, where Señor Tomás and our designers and volunteers work. Señor Tomás works hard to create products that fully show the talents of our partner artisans, but he and our designers are struggling with the current leather machine.  Señor Tomás comments, “We have a lightweight machine [for our leather], but it doesn’t help us that much. Our leather machine is flat.” Due to the flatness of the machine, products must be fed carefully through the part that sews the leather, hindering precision and causing creases. A more spherical machine would allow the bag to retain its shape while being stitched, better preserving our locally-sourced leather and allowing us to do the artisans’ textiles justice (and better fill our growing demand!).

“If we had a better machine, our products could be better quality, more durable, and more precise,” affirms Señor Tomás. “We need this machine to make the best products possible.” And we need to make the best products possible to grow our sales and increase opportunities for our partner artisans. Join us on July 18th to raise our goal of $1500 for a new leather machine! 

Help Fund A New Leather Machine