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Paola Cuentas

Artisan Organization: Paola Cuentas

Country: Peru

"I was born in Arequipa where I grew up with my parents who taught me the importance of identity, respect, and the persistent search for equality.

"After finishing school, my first job was in a small workshop that knitted alpaca sweaters. I was so impressed by the skills of the people who could knit, by the ability of the women who did the finishing touches, and I discovered a new focus for my career. I met Jenny Randall, an English designer who got me started in the different techniques for developing a design.

"Sometime later, I felt the need to work to be able to show the world all the possibilities that our country offers through its fibers, of its culture and millenary textile art.

"I worked for a while in one of the principle textile firms of Arequipa, but this wasn't exactly what I wanted to do. So I decided to start out on my own adventure.

"Conceptos has been in existence since 2000. It has been a process of learning, of consciousness, of encounter and, above all, of development – as much for myself as for my extraordinary team. We work with groups of mothers who do the finishing, with knitting workshops, and young professional technicians. It is through this combination that we are able to combine textures, fine finishing touches created by hand, and the softness of alpaca wool to craft modern women's apparel that is elegant and that reflects our concept of the world.

"The work that I do has become a personal project. My main motivation is that what began as only an idea has taken form and becomes more real every day. This excites me and impels me to move ahead.

"The greatest challenge in my life has been to combine my professional life with family life, to stretch time enough to be able to work with joy, to sit and talk with my husband Vladimir, and to share, teach, pamper and play with our children, Nicolás y Daniela.

"I have always admired your vision as you join artists and collectors into a global community. I am very happy to be a part of this grand showcase and offer you modern styles to accompany them always.""