Border Crossing

Bringing Aymara traditions to the US
Although the debate in the United States is focused on the perceived evils of immigration from Central and South America, the reality is that many cultural riches come our way thanks to companies like Aymara’s Handknits. 
The Bolivian-based company first started in 1972 with a group of 70 women who made a variety of woolen textiles made from alpaca fleece. Aymara’s Handknits currently employs 32 women that are divided into groups of three to four knitters. Many live in rural sections, a handful in suburban areas outside of La Paz where there are few economic opportunities and affordable child care.  Each woman can work from their home where they’re able to knit or crochet. Materials to create hats and accessories are provided. Output is based on the number of orders received from clients. 
Knitted products include a collections winter accessories such as: adult and children mittens, large mittens, finger covered mittens, finger less gloves for adult and children, hat, flag hats, cuff hats, animal hats for adult and children, scarves, shawls, bags for ladies. Aymara primarily works with with alpaca wool—recognized for its durable, but soft  silkiness. While similar to sheep's wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. The company also uses lamb's wool to make woven textile for handbags,. In addition to knitting and crocheting, many of the textles are embellished with embroidery. Motifs and designs are based on Pre-Columbian and Aztec iconography as well as Native American designs.
Aymara Handicrafts will be attending for the second time NY NOW’s Artisan Resource from February 3-6 at the Jacob Javits Center with the goal to meet more buyers in the United States and from abroad. 
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