Posted on 11 January 2019
You know when a few things happen at once and you just want to share? Well in the last few weeks so many people have started to realise just how special our Peruvian jumpers are and the story of where they come from and how they are made is spreading far and wide.
The first thing to happen was a new baby!
Natasha and Rupert
Natasha contacted me one Sunday night to help with sizing on several jumpers as she is a big fan of Peruvian jumpers and a great supporter! We were both excited to go through the sizes and colours and Natasha told me about baby Rupert who was being collected the following week. Natasha has sent a couple of photos of Rupert in his jumper and he is just enjoying life so much that you can't help but smile at his photos and delight in his love of life.
Here is again enjoying his walks and burning off some of that excess energy! Natasha owns and operates the Bark Academy in Durham
Taking the high ground - Rupert Rules
Here is the link to the selection of jumpers we currently have available on our website. We have deliveries arriving every few weeks and are excitedly awaiting more stock of pinks, lilacs and other pretty colours ready for Spring.
Visit Our My Chi and Me Website - Peruvian Jumpers Collection
Calling at Granny's house
The second thing that made me want to share was this gorgeous photo of our admin Lorna's little man in his red jumper 'knocking' on granny's door to be let in that is just another big smile in a little 2kg canine bundle. As most of you know all our admin team are great fans of the Peruvian jumper including Fiona who wants one for herself so if I get to Peru any time soon I'll see what I can do.
Zac knocking for granny - let me in granny - I know you've got treats in there!
Veronica is our fantastic admin and resident craft, sewing, knitting and dressmaking expert and her girls both wear our Peruvian jumpers beautifully.
Here is Freya in a tiny jumper keeping warm and looking cute.
Fiona's cute little 'Unchi wears her jumper very well and despite her shaggy thick coat she feels the cold in winter at her home in Scotland.
Dizzy and Tia enjoying the ride
Dizzy the Mascot
Steven's tinies love their pushchair and Tia the little blind disabled chi feels the cold more than most (so Steve tells us but personally I think thats an excuse to duck into Burger King where the staff at his local branch are very accommodating and allow the chi babies in).
Dizzy is the official mascot for Dizzy's Chihuahua Rescue operated by Suzanne Callan and Steve Betts.
Harry and Meghan's Wedding
The tfinal thing I want to tell you is REALLY exciting for us and just so amazing!
Last week I sold a beautiful jumper on Etsy to a lovely lady who sent me a message that really made me stop and think.
The lady messaged me to say how much she admired the work that the ladies in the women's cooperative in Peru put into each jumper to lovingly complete each unique piece in gorgeous warm Alpaca wool.
Juliet was so impressed that she couldn't wait to take the jumper into work on Monday to show the people she works with. Juliet then sent me a photo of her beautiful dog wearing the jumper and told me that she had made the Archbishop's robes that he wore for the marriage between Price Harry and Meghan Markle last year.
Here is Juliet's message...
Hello from a very happy lady. You have introduced me to an amazing world of textile history.
I have attached a picture of our new puppy Jesse who looks great in the arpillera which you so promptly sent to us.
As a church textiles embroiderer I was immediately drawn to this little coat and was amazed to hear of the history behind their making.
I have now ordered a book called Art and dictatorship which will inform me further of the use of textiles to speak a message.
We have a dear friend called Jose who was imprisoned by Pinochet so this coat will mean a lot to him I am sure.
All the very best, Juliet Hemingray
Puppy Jesse looking fabulous!
Juliet and I exchanged a couple more messages and I mentioned I hoped to pay the ladies in Peru a visit then this happened...
Great to hear from you so quickly.
When you visit the ladies tell them that the lady that made robes for the Archbishop of Canterbury admires their work. He wore them at Harry and Meghan's wedding.
I can't wait to show my staff when we get back to work - they will be fascinated by it and also by Jesse as she is a surprise for them to get used to in the studio.
Do use Jesse's picture if you would like to.
The robes were actually made about 26 years ago for Justin Welby's principal at theological college in Durham. It was a gift from the students and tutors when he left to become a Bishop.
After several years he died and his widow gave the robes to Justin when he became Bishop of Durham. then he became Archbishop and wore the robes at his enthronement to my great delight.
I was excited to learn more about Juliet's work and found this fantastic link with photos of Juliet for you all to see.
I'm sure you would all like to know more about the jumpers so here is a bit of information for you all about them.
More about Arperillas
Arpilleras or cuadros, exquisitely detailed hand-sewn three dimensional textile pictures, illustrate the stories of the lives of the women of the shantytowns (pueblo jovenes) of Lima, Peru and provide essential income for their families.
"Arpilleras originated in Chile, where women political prisoners who were held during the Pinochet regime used them to camouflage notes sent to helpers outside. Even the most suspicious guards did not think to check the appliquéd pictures for messages, since sewing was seen as inconsequential 'women's work'.
Today, arpilleras are created in a number of cooperatives located in the dusty shantytowns of poor and displaced families that ring the capital city of Lima." Pueblos are collections of the poorest people with unemployment near 80% and few sources of income. "Often the homes are shacks composed of salvaged parts: old doors, panels of straw matting, crating and corrugated metal. Water must be trucked in to the shantytowns because there are no water or sewage systems. Often, the small income from the sale of arpilleras provides the only source of income for families displaced from their traditional lives in the mountains. For others, this income allows the family to educate their children, to provide a little better living standard. For all, it engenders a sense of community among women who are often from very different customs and cultures; it is also a way to express their creativity.
The arpilleras tell the stories of life: stories of planting and harvesting potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, grapes, corn; stories of spinning and weaving wool; stories of country life, of tending llamas, sheep and goats; stories of weddings and fiestas.
According to arpillera maker Rita Serapion, "We all have a little art in our minds and in our hands; we will leave something as a legacy for society. It will stay behind us, in another place, in another time."
From "In Her Hands" by Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle, Penguin Press 2000.
My beautiful book - a fascinating read