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Celinda Jaco

Artisan Organization: Celinda Jaco

Country: Peru

"I was born in the beautiful department of Cerro de Pasco but, when I was five years old, I went to live in Lima with my godmother while my parents continued working as farmers in my hometown. I studied up to second year in middle school and then my love for textiles took over as I took courses in tailoring, knitting, crochet, toy-making and applique.

"I began working in a project with mothers who also wanted to learn about making toys, knitting and crochet. I worked in a variety of things, from bringing over things from Chile to sell in Peru to opening my own shop to sell sweaters, but that didn't work. In 2002 I started knitting informally but, thanks to the advice of my husband and children who specialize in textiles, I've been able to establish my own venture. I am constantly taking courses to hone my skills and develop further.

"Life is full of surprises, good and bad. I remember that once, back when I used to travel the countryside to sell different things, a taxi driver took off with everything after I had finished loading the car and before I had the chance to get in. I took another cab trying to catch up, but we never made it. However, one of my clients saw everything and identified the taxi.

"I thought I had lost everything, when this client called me and asked me to meet him at his house and as I walked in, I was amazed to see all of my merchandise there! I was so grateful to God and to this client!

"When I was a little girl I loved playing at having a trade and I enjoyed making things with my hands. Now as a grownup, I get to do it for real!

"My art comes from a combination of skill and creativity. I combine flat knitting with hand-embroidered details. It is very inspiring and motivating to create items that are different to what everybody else is doing. I've exhibited my creations in different fashion shows and fairs throughout Peru.

"The biggest goal I had set for myself was to be recognized, and I'm achieving it. I am so excited about having a chance to meet you all. I hope you like my designs and appreciate the fact each one is made with much dedication, effort, and love for this art. Thank you for trusting in me!""