Artisan Organization: Lida Evaristo
"I'm Lida Evaristo Salas. I was born in 1955 in Peru's capital city. I'm a perfectionist, hardworking and painstaking with the quality of my art.
"There was a time when our economic situation was extremely complicated and I was forced to find a thousand ways to pay the bills and take care of my family. My children, more than anything else, have been my reason for living. They're the reason I get up each morning and I think that everything is possible, thanks to them. I've learned that no matter how difficult the situation, love will overcome. They've taught me not to let the obstacles get me down but to always seek solutions even when it seems impossible.
"This is why I feel proud. I've always worked very hard for my children and family and I'll do this until the day I die.
"I discovered the art of crafting handbags when traveling in Apurímac with my mother. I loved the weavings and colors. My aunt wove the fabrics by hand and, eventually, she and other family members taught me.
"I'm fascinated by the colors and designs used by our Inca ancestors. They are unique in the world due to the incredible quality of the work and the natural shades and colors inspired by the rainbow.
"While it was difficult to start out on my own, it wasn't impossible. I had to pay my children's school expenses, so this art of mine arose out of necessity. I believed it offered us the possibility to get ahead but I also felt a great attraction to weaving and I enjoy it. I always craft my designs with much love.
"I like the wide range of colors available to us and I also enjoy our traditional hand-weaving techniques used by the Inca to create their clothing. It's impressive to think that I'm continuing with my country's historic legacy.
"I've taught my children this art and they've accepted it with love and dedication. I'm also teaching others who are interested in learning. I had the privilege to teach weaving in an artisan workshop and this was one of the best experiences in my life.
"It's not an easy art to learn. For me, it took a lot of effort, I had to train and later practiced in a local workshop for several years to learn all the processes in textiles and leather work. Finally, I began setting up my own workshop where I use handloomed fabrics and leather to craft shoes and handbags.
"I especially like combining fabric with leather. The textiles we use are impressive. My inspiration comes from nature, from the rainbow, from plants, from Peru's Andean landscapes and, in general, from our pre-Hispanic heritage.
"My dream is for my workshop to grow. I imagine selling my handbags all over the world and making an impact on fashion. But more importantly, I hope that God will grant me life and health to continue working, doing what I truly love.""