W. Rojas Yuri
Artisan Organization: W. Rojas Yuri
"I'm Wilfredo Rojas Yurivilca, but I shorten my name and work with the artistic name of W. Rojas Yuri to identify myself with my designs. I was born on September 8, 1966 in San Pedro de Cajas, in Tarma province where I lived until I graduated from high school. I love this town and its people, whom I carry in my memories.
"San Pedro de Cajas is Peru's artisan capital. I was just a child of seven when I made my first sketches on the looms that I could reach. These were my first artistic flashes of the continuation of Andean textile artistry. I remember I was so small and curious, but the looms were so large I couldn't reach them. So I'd climb on a chair and watch the older people work on a huge loom of more than four meters.
"When I was ten, I wove my first tapestry completely by hand without anyone's help. It depicted a tree surrounded by birds of different colors. My family was impressed by the finishing I'd given it and, when they sold it, they wanted me to make more. I used this design to enter a contest for children with talent in artisan design, and it was one of the best for my age. I won an invitation to Venezuela but, because of school and how young I was, I couldn't go. And I had no one to travel with me.
"My artistic vocation comes from my maternal grandparents, Angélica Oscanoa Amaro and Don César Yurivilca Román, my best guide and teacher. He led me toward this wonderful world of art even though my mother, Grimalda, also had a great influence on me. Born in 1924, my grandfather is a living legend in the art of hand-weaving in San Pedro de Cajas. In 1998, the government awarded him the degree of Grand Master of Peruvian Handicrafts. In addition, for many years he taught various generations of San Pedro weavers in his home town. It was because of him that I had ascended in my professional formation, and he taught me the secrets of textile art.
"I also learned a great deal from the Grand Master of Peruvian Textile Art, Máximo Laura, whom I met in 1995 when I participated in a workshop-course in Lima. There was good chemistry from the start, and maestro Laura and I began a great friendship. I sincerely admire his works with unimaginable designs. I was fortunate to be invited to work in his workshop, where I stayed for five years, until I set out to find my creative independence. In the workshop-course, I not only met artisans from all over the country, but also learned many things such as dye percentages, designs for globalization, and worldwide color trends with handmade Peruvian products.
"I inherited the last name Yuri as a shortened form of the maternal name that I place in all my creations. I'm currently exploring new alternatives, but I follow the rules of the old weavers from Tarma. I search for more complicated geometric patterns, combined with cubism. I like to create new designs and styles within what is my own.
"When I was 19, I moved to Lima in search of getting ahead intellectually and economically to be able to support my family. I studied for a technical degree in accounting, and took other courses such as design, dying, innovation in handicrafts, fashion with pre-Hispanic style, etc.
"I work with my family – my mother, my brothers and uncles. I have a number of handlooms and, when I have lots of work, I don't keep to any schedule. I work day and night without rest until I fill my orders. And I'm not careless in their elaboration – I try to perfect my work and deliver my very best in each weaving.
"I've shown my designs in Peru and also in Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the U.S. and a little in Europe. Articles in the magazine Mundo Textil (Textile World) have focused on my artistic life.
"I'd like to leave a modest message to the youth of our country. If you have the vocation, then live the continuation of this great cultural legacy our ancestors have left us.""