Artisan Organization: Rosa Paredes
"I'm Olga Rosa Paredes Gálvez. I was born in the province of Cajabamba in Cajamarca on August 30, 1971. As a hobby, I enjoyed sewing and this is what led me to work in new models and different kinds of designs.
"I began by making some clothing in wool and later, with the scraps, I began to create dolls, change purses and such. "Since 1993, I've worked in handicrafts, and especially textiles, developing designs in 100% wool. I wanted to revalue that which is ours by promoting it. We give an opportunity to families in difficult situations to earn an income with our traditional crafts.
"My designs transmit our art, the rich legacy we have as Peruvians, and show that we are capable of creating things that are fashionable. We rely on our customs and our traditions, but with an added value.
"At the beginning, not many people believed in what we are doing. In 1998, I was able to participate in a national competition for young people where I had to learn to make a sales projection and take my competitors into consideration. As a result, I won an award that year for my project, Mujer Textil (Textile Woman).
"One of my challenges has been to break away from people's indifference and conformism, to help them see that what we are doing is valuable, and when we postpone activities as a family we are each making a sacrifice for their good. I also found it challenging to learn the language and the rhythms of the people in our communities and to achieve better quality work. This is an ongoing effort, as we have to watch every step to get it right.
"Something I like to do is teach and share my art. It's a wonderful feeling, because the best thing a person can do is to share experiences and knowledge with others.
"I am not alone behind these craft pieces. There are many people, families, who struggle to get on in life. My progress and development isn't individual. There are many, many faces. They support me and encourage me and this is more valuable than anything in the world.""