General World News

Inspired by Llamas and Mother Earth, Chilean Craftswomen Weave Sacred Textiles

In northern Chile, Teofila Challapa learned to weave surrounded by the hills and sandy roads of the Atacama Desert.

“Spin the threads, girl,” her grandmother told her a half a century ago.

Aymara women like Challapa, now 59, become acquainted with wool threads under blue skies and air so thin that outsiders struggle to breathe. While herding llamas and alpacas through scarce grasslands 11,500 feet above sea level, they create their first textiles.

“We had no clothes or money, so we needed to learn how to dress with our own hands,” said Challapa, sitting next to fluffy alpacas outside her humble home in details ⇒

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