Casa Capellanica. Calle San Alberto No 413
Telefono (591) (64) 53841
Fax (591) (64) 62194                   Casilla 662 - Sucre - Bolivia


In 1987, after a year of research and planning in the Jalq'a region, ASUR initiated the Jalq'a Textile Project in the community of Irupampa. Its objectives included:

The revival of rapidly-disappearing traditional weaving techniques.

The sale of the resulting textiles to provide an alternative income source for peasant families.

The alleviation of poverty in a region with deteriorating agricultural opportunities.

The last years have shown considerable success:

The project has grown to include several other communities.

A new project was launched: the Tarabuco Textile Project.

The two projects now encompass 16 female workshops in as many communities, distributed among the two regions (Jalq'a and Tarabuco). And 5 male production units.

Around 1,000 weavers are enrolled in the projects.

The population benefitting from the project is estimated at some 5830 people. (weavers and their families).

The Jalq'a-Tarabuco Textile Project has successfully:

Increased the production of textiles. Significantly improved the quality of the textiles produced. Established a textile shop in the Casa Capellánica in Sucre. Increased the sale of textiles. Given numerous indigenous families another option for improving the condition of their lives.

The main success of the Jalq'a -Tarabuco Textile Project lies in the combination of economic income with the development of aesthetic creativity. In spite of the recent increase in production, the pieces of clothing have not been degraded nor "folklorized". The intensity of textile labour, together with increased communication between communities and weavers, has instead accelerated the processes of change in the designs. Change, always present in any living tradition, is now released in a far more impassioned search for the best way of expressing messages characteristic of each region.The weavers have not tried to adapt to the tastes of the market; rather, they are aware that what they offer are, precisely, visions of the world which differ from those of the observer, glimpses of another soul, someone else's thoughts, which are given material form in the interweaving of coloured threads.


Over the last three years, ASUR has also organized a group of small production units in some of the same communities where the women's textile workshops operate. These units receive advice from ASUR and maintain close relations with the other groups through textile-related activities. By offering new and different products which demonstrate local indigenous creativity, these groups are an important force for diversifying the Textile Project's production.

* The Communal Enterprise at Irupampa

This is the largest of the units, employing 58 persons (almost all of the community's families are involved). The enterprises include:

  • a successful dyeing workshop which experiments with and produces natural dyes.
  • a number of haberdasheries.
  • a small hydroelectric plant, which will provide energy for the spinning mill and employment for a few members of the community.

* The Mattress Workshop at Marawa

In order to utilize residual wool, the community of Marawa has established a mattress-making workshop which:
employs 15 men and one woman, produces high-quality mattresses which are made to order and sold in the city of Sucre.

* The Bayeta Workshop at Marawa

Also in Marawa, a group of weavers has organized to make bayetas (woolen cloths woven using pedal looms); the objective is to produce especially fine cloth.The project began with the training of 10 weavers.Currently, 16 weavers produce fine shawls which are sold in ASUR's textile store.Several other community members await their turn for training and integration into the project.

* Embroidery in Majada
Thirteen members of the community of Majada have been trained in pre-Hispanic embroidery techniques. They work closely with the bayeta-makers of Marawa to produce fine pre-Colombian style embroidered cloth for use in making clothing.

* Tapestry-making in Potolo

The training given in the community of Potolo has led to the establishment of a mens' tapestry production unit.
Weaving techniques recovered from the pre-Columbian era are being used.These tapestry-makers are the only ones in the Andean region who are reviving and continuing the practice of these ancient techniques.The group is composed of 16 weavers whose success in this enterprise is inspiring others to undergo training.These weavers are passing these techniques to weavers in other communities within Tarabuco.

* Tapestry-making in Pila Torre
The tapestry-makers of Potolo (Jalq'a region) have already passed along pre-Hispanic weaving techniques to 12 male apprentices from the community of Pila Torre (Tarabuco region). Currently, 20 weavers produce fine tapestries.

* The Ceramic Program

The Ceramic Program operates with indigenous peasants of the Ch'uta ethnic group. This project has three main components:


Supporting families who practice the pottery traditions of generations ago and produce all variety of traditional pieces.


Working with the producers of construction ceramics.


Organizing a Central Workshop, where potters produce high-quality ceramics for daily use (table service, flowerpots, etc.).

Underlying these three focus points are several general objectives:

      • to revive traditional pottery techniques
      • to improve kilns and firing methods
      • to improve the quality and variety of ceramic production
      • abrir nuevos mercados
      • to train indigenous potters
      • to open new markets for ceramics
      • to improve the prices received by producers.

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