Peruvian frazadas: traditional ethnic textiles for home
These traditional Peruvian textiles are called Frazadas, which means blankets or bed covers. But these Frazadas are thick handwoven, and heavy enough to be used as rugs.
Frazadas are 100% sheep wool textiles woven by hand and hand-dyed in the rural villages of the Andes by Aymara women in Peru. They use old techniques inherited through generations; it takes weeks to finish just one frazada. They are used to protect Andean people from freezing temperatures in the wintertime in their villages located over 9800 feet above mean sea level (3000 meters). The Frazada is made of 2 separate woven parts, which are then sewn together. The central and border seams show decorative details and colors that contrast the design and colors of this textile, highlighting its beauty.
How are they made?
These rugs (frazadas) are entirely handmade and use natural products in all the process:
The sheep are clipped by hand, and their wool is cleaned using a natural shampoo from Saqta plant. They called it “the Inca shampoo” because it is used to wash their hair, prevent hair loss and avoid gray hair.
When the wool is dry, the spinning process begins, using the pushka, or spinning stick, which women learn from age 6.
They use natural dyes from vegetables, plants, and most important: from the cochineal. This scale insect is the origin of the natural dye carmine. They use volcanic stone, alum stone, lemon, and Maras pink salt to fix the color.
After the wool yarn has been dyed and dried, the woolen threads are crossed in the loom to make the blanket reversible. And the selection of the colors depends on the mood of the women. Among the tools they use to weave, you can find a llama, alpaca, or condor bone, which allows them to adjust the fabric during its elaboration.
The designs are created spontaneously, without having a design or pattern at hand. They have learned more than 40 designs that go from generation to generation. Their designs are inspired by the fauna and flora, such as the llama, condor, puma, snake, mountains, and lakes.
Photos: Fiorella Madsen/ La casa de Freja