Alejandra Challapa

Arica, Chile

Alpaca Weaving

Alejandra Aurora Challapa Castro is an Aymara weaver from a small community near Arica, Chile, on the border with Peru. She has dedicated her life to refining the art of weaving in llama and alpaca. Alejandra began to weave on two and four-pedal looms as a child and to take care of her family’s vicunas, alpacas, and llamas. She learned to shear, prepare, and spin wools from all the camelids on her family farm in Camarones when she was home from boarding school.

In 1987, Alejandra moved to Arica to study and began to work with a cooperative of weavers which did not survive. She founded her own cooperative, Tejidos Kurmi, soon after and has supported her three children and extended family with her work ever since. Alejandra has been invited to the major artisan fairs in Santiago, Chile, as well as Expo Milan to share her work maintaining ancestral Aymara traditions.

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