colors of the andes - residency in Urubamba.

A month in Peru will change your outlook on life and how you think about color.

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I spent February his year in the Cusco region of Peru where I learned more about the honored tradition of making color from natural materials, gathered across the countryside. The Sacred Valley is nestled within the Andes Mountains and Urubamba is where I lived and learned. My maestro, Maria lives in Chinchero, a small town that is known for textiles.  Maria taught me 40 recipes of color on wool that has expanded my knowledge of natural dye techniques substantially.  

I think about color in a new way with meaning that includes rich tones, smells and adventures. Color now holds stories and history for me from Maria’s instruction.  I think of green as chill'ka and large pots of boiling greens and red as cochinella.  I look at the variety of tones I created and their vibrancy and I remember Maria’s instructions, our way of communicating without a common language, and sitting on the floor while smashing plants with rocks.

I also think about how lucky I have it. At home, everything is so easy. Water is potable from the tap. I can order groceries online and have someone deliver them to my house (although I prefer to buy them myself)!

If I need cochineal, I can go online and order it and within a few days, it will arrive in my mailbox or by way of an Amazon truck. This is not the way it is in Peru. Everything requires a little extra work- but this is the way I prefer it! The markets are alive with people, fruits and vegetables and livestock. The roads are buzzing with I-motos and more VW Beatles then I have ever seen in my life. The mountains and scenery are breathtaking and the people, the very best I have ever met.

festival!

festival!

my favorite dog in Urubamba

my favorite dog in Urubamba

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Emily Donovan