We invite you to join us on a PUCHKA adventure, all of which begin and end in the capital of Peru, Lima.
Puchka Perú Textiles/Folk Art/Market Tours
Perú...land of ancient civilizations and enduring traditions. For millennia, its people have lived and worked the land, holding firmly to the customs of their ancestors and embracing a rich and timeless artistic legacy. From the haunting desert seacoasts to the spectacular Andean highlands and cloud forests to the exuberant lowland jungles and rainforests, they have walked its footpaths and roadways, their puchkas/ pushkas (drop spindles) whirling before them as they spun the wools, cottons and luxurious alpaca that would become some of the most exquisite, vibrant and complex weaving, embroidery, braiding and knitting ever known to humankind.
PUCHKA takes you where others don't go, in a way that others don't do in a land that is an open museum of cultural adventure. PUCHKA is not only a cultural tour but also a textile school. Our mission is threefold: to guide you straight into the heart of a nation's breath-taking artistic heritage; to take you deep into the lives and creative spirits of the artists themselves; and to support and promote the extraordinary textile and folk art communities of this remarkable and enchanting nation.
To deepen your experience of Peruvian culture, we take you off the tourist trail, behind the scenes, without ever compromising your safety or comfort. Our groups stay in small cosy guesthouses and lodges whose local character and unpretentious charm bring you closer to the people and their traditional way of life. We travel at a leisurely pace that allows you to fully absorb the many wonders Perú has to offer.
Travelers on the PUCHKA 22-day adventures gain an uncommon understanding of the dedication, vision and techniques that continue to kindle brilliance in today's guardians of Peru's ancient artistic traditions. Our participants also experience superb collections of textiles, folk art and world-renowned colonial art; the haunting and lively music of panpipes, harp, quena and charangos; local dances and festivals; the mystery of ancient archaeological sites, the energy and bustle of colourful outdoor markets; the distinctive charm of folk art villages; and the mouth-watering flavours of Peruvian cuisine. But their most treasured memories are of the rare and special friendships they develop as they work shoulder-to-shoulder and heart-to-heart with some of Peru's most outstanding textile and folk artists.
PUCHKA 22-day journeys are not mere sightseeing tours, though they certainly include a remarkable number of extraordinary and heart stopping sights and experiences along the way. Rather, our focus is on small-group, hands-on workshops with master spinners, weavers, knitters, embroiderers, braiders, musicians and gourd engravers from across Perú who come to work with us in our guesthouses. We visit the capital Lima; beautiful Arequipa, a UNESCO designated Heritage Site; the majestic Colca Valley/Canyon; enchanting Cusco and the Urubamba Valley/Sacred Valley of the Inca. We also explore Machu Picchu, declared a Wonder of the World, and other archaeological sites; we visit textile villages, amazing museums, colourful markets and a whole lot more.
Travelers on PUCHKA 12 day tour to Ayacucho/Huamanga in the southern highlands visit the area and its magnificent WARI/HUARI sites, off the tourist trail, and to spend time with the makers of the wonderful textiles and folk art in the southern highlands - we visit weavers, braiders, knitters, embroiderers, potters, sculptors, painters, tin-workers, retablo makers, mask makers, silversmiths, museums, markets and villages - a number of mini- workshops and lots of demonstrations are included.
What are PUCHKA Textiles/Folk Art/Market Tours?
PUCHKA, pronounced pooshka, is the Quechua word for drop spindle. For millennia, travelers across the Andes have been fascinated by the sight of women, girls and - depending on the region - men and boys as they fed unspun cotton and the washed and carded fleeces of sheep, alpaca and llama onto their whirling puchkas to spin them into yarn and thread. The ancestors of contemporary spinners also used the fleeces of vicuña (a cameloid mammal related to the llama and alpaca and now a protected species), as well as the fur of mice, rats and viscacha (altiplano rodents), human hair, sisal, spider webs, various grasses and kapok. The yarns they produced were then, and often still are, dyed with leaves, flowers, roots, minerals, indigo and cochineal to be used in creating the exquisite, hand-made shawls, blankets, rugs and tapestries for which Perú is famous.
When you travel with PUCHKA you experience, not only the skills and techniques, but also the lifestyle and unique creative personality of each artist we work with. PUCHKA works very hard to ensure that you are fully immersed in the wonderful scents, sounds, tastes, textures and - most of all – the endless profusion of visual delights with which these specialized communities abound.
A PUCHKA tour is not for everyone, however:
The PUCHKA Traveler
PUCHKA travelers are independent, mature individuals who relate positively to others; possess an adventurous, open, generous, flexible spirit; a passion for textile and folk-arts and a deeply felt respect for artists and others of diverse cultural backgrounds. They are courteous individuals, respectful of others and who share the good manners typical of the average Peruvian. They recognize that they are traveling in what is often referred to as a 'Third World Country', do not expect life to be the same as in their home countries and are non-exploitive of others. Whether you are an enthusiastic beginner, a textile artist, weaver, knitter, braider, embroiderer, photographer, educator, student, curator, folk-art lover, buyer, searcher, sojourner or corporate type looking for something entirely different - and if you remain open to the unfamiliar and delight in it - PUCHKA will expand your horizons, nourish your soul and inspire your creative spirit.