Bright, Colorful Peruvian Highlands Textiles Focus of Colorado State University Avenir Museum Exhibit

The Peruvian Highlands are known for brightly colored, hand-woven garments that are today a dying tradition because younger generations are losing interest in the art form passed down from their elders. Efforts to preserve traditional weaving practices by modernizing designs are the focus of the next Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising exhibit, “Weaving Lives: Transforming Textile Traditions in the Peruvian Highlands.”

The exhibit features textiles from hand-weavers, -knitters, -dyers and -spinners in nine communities associated with the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, Peru. The center, under the direction of its founder, Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, has established local weaving associations throughout the Andean highlands to teach and preserve these traditions of fine handmade textiles and to promote economic and community development. Alvarez is the guest co-curator of this Avenir Museum exhibit, in collaboration with Marilyn Murphy, founding partner of ClothRoads, A Global Textile Marketplace, in Loveland. The exhibit opens on Thursday, Feb. 21 and concludes on Friday, Aug. 2 in the Avenir Museum, University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington St.

In conjunction with the exhibit the Avenir Museum will host a series of workshops and lectures, including the customary Third Thursday Lecture Series. All lectures are at 7 p.m. in Room 136 of the University Center for the Arts Annex, 216 E. Lake St. Lectures are free and open to the public.

Third Thursday Lectures:
– Thursday, Feb. 21– Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, guest co-curator and director of The Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco, presents the opening lecture “Weaving Traditions in the Cusco Region.” The lecture will be accompanied by a reception and backstrap weaving demonstrations by Center for Traditional Textiles weaver Antonia Rojo Arapa, from the village of Pitumarca. A trunk show featuring textiles for sale by the center will be held from 5-7 p.m.

– Thursday, March 28 – Marilyn Murphy, guest co-curator and founding partner of ClothRoads, A Global Textile Marketplace, will explore Artisan Weaving Cooperatives and Their Sustainability into the Future.

– Thursday, April 18 – Susan J. Torntore, Avenir Museum curator, weaves together The Historical Context of Peruvian Textiles.


Alvarez will offer two hands-on workshops in conjunction with the exhibit opening. Each workshop is limited to 20 participants.

– “Andean Hat Knitting the Chinchero Style,” 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. Cost $100, lunch and materials included.

– “Ñawi awapa: A Tubular Edging for Textiles,” 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24. Cost $60, materials included.

Trunk shows:

Trunk shows in association with the exhibit also will be held 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21; 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23; and 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, in Room 136 of the University Center for the Arts Annex, 216 E. Lake St.

For more information or to register, contact Megan Osborne at (970) 491-6648 or

The Avenir Museum is one of the few university collections with an added emphasis on international objects, including a collection of 500 kimono and more than 300 textiles from Central and South Asia. Western artifacts include 19th and 20th century men’s and women’s apparel, elaborate fans and hats, beaded flapper dresses, shoes, handmade lace and famous designer apparel.

Among the jewels of the collection are designer dresses from the late Mr. Blackwell, Arnold Scaasi, Carolina Herrera and Calvin Klein. It is also home to the internationally renowned Hellmann lace collection, which includes rare examples of 18th and 19th century handmade lace.

The Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising is part of the Department of Design and Merchandising in the College of Applied Human Sciences. Museum hours are 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday –Wednesday and Friday, and 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The museum is closed on national and university holidays.