Clothes Fashion

After The Flood: Helping Peruvians Through Handicrafts

By Chere Di Boscio

Just outside the sprawling city of Lima, hundreds of householders were salvaging for their scant belongings in what was left of their homes after the Rimac River burst over its banks in recent weeks. It was Peru’s worst flooding disaster in decades, and as always in such situations, most of the hardest hit were those who could least afford it – poorer Peruvians who had built their homes on cheaper land nearer the river, which tends to overflow.

Many lost everything as their homes were washed of decades – even lifetimes – of content. And items that are found are perched precariously on dry surfaces, in the hopes that their owners will find them. All across Peru, dozens have been killed and tens of thousands displaced after sudden warming of Pacific waters off the coast unleashed torrential downpours in recent weeks. Despite what you may think, this is not the effect of climate change. Rather, it’s the result of a localized El Nino phenomenon that is forecast to stretch into months over this spring.

The extreme floods wreaking havoc in Peru are also threatening the South American country’s rich archeological heritage and the tourism that thrives on it. At least 50 important sites in Peru have been damaged by the intense rains that are battering northern Peru, resulting in a drastic drop in related tourism, according to archaeologist and explorer Walter Alva.

Alva discovered the tomb of Peru’s “Lord of Sipan” in 1987, a gold-adorned find that established the Moche culture as one of Peru’s rich coastal civilizations that flourished long before the Incan Empire in the Andes. Some researchers believe that Moche society collapsed because of an El Nino event and other climate changes during their rule from 200-700 AD, a reminder for some of the challenges now facing Peru due to unpredictable weather.

Personally, I’ve just returned from Peru myself, and after hearing much about the suffering of the people in Lima, I feel the need to give something back to this wonderful country. Consequently, Eluxe has paired up with Novica, an online portal backed by National Geographic that is dedicated to preserving artisanal traditions by granting zero interest micro credit loans to craftsmen in Peru and beyond. So far, Novica has already sent over $76m to artisans around the world, and they are now donating 10% of all purchases from their site to specifically help Peruvians who have suffered the effects of the flood.

We’re hoping you’ll help by making a purchase from the site – it won’t just aid those who have lost everything in the floods, but you’ll also be supporting local communities and traditional crafts no matter what you choose.

To give you a taster of what’s available, we’ve chosen 10 Peruvian handicrafts we think really stand out, but you can find plenty more here.

Gold Crescent Earrings

Elegant crescents feature rows of petite Balinese-style dots bathed in gleaming 22k gold. Nyoman Rena presents a hoop-style earring design in knockout gold vermeil. Made of 22k gold plated .925 sterling silver

Find them here.

Woven Wool Handbag

Peru’s Lily Carrasco designs this gorgeous shoulder bag featuring cherry red flowers and straps underscored by coal black. The bag’s wool fabric is woven on a traditional loom and the colors are obtained from natural and artificial dyes. Featuring ishpingo wood hoops for the straps, the bag’s cerise interior features two open pockets to keep small items handy.

Buy it here.

Classic Peruvian Poncho

A highly sophisticated accessory, this lightweight poncho is perfect for chilly days. Peruvian artisan Nestor Yana designs the navy poncho, which features textured lines and cable patterns. Made from a blend of acrylic and alpaca wool, the poncho has an asymmetrical hem that gives it an attractive, feminine touch.

Buy it here.

Stunning Silver Ring

Lightning streaks across a wide band of silver, illuminating the full moon and telling a mythological tale from ancient days. Crafted by hand, this sterling silver ring is designed for women by Amparo Guerra in Peru and is made from.925 locally sourced Sterling silver.

Find it here.

Peruvian Bucket Bag

Designed by Joucelyn Pasara, this shoulder bag from Peru is handwoven from cotton with diamond motifs in beige, with black leather accents and an adjustable strap. The bucket-style handbag opens at the top with a drawstring closure to reveal a cotton lining with a beige camouflage pattern and a single inner zipper pocket for storing small items. And is it me, or is this a dead ringer for the Louis Vuitton bucket bag?

Buy it here.

Incan Cross Cardi

Fernando Cano designed a stylized version of the Andean cross, known as a chakana, for this handsome gray cardigan. Detailed in beige, the chakana represents the link between this world and the world above. Featuring cedar wood buttons and lapel v-neck, the jersey stitch cardigan is knit of alpaca, a warm, lightweight and soft fleece worn in the Andes since the days of the Inca Empire.

Buy it here.

Classic Peruvian Cape

Like feathery autumn grass, warm vertical motifs flow across the borders of this cape. Showcasing the exceptional textile art of Peru’s Alfredo Falcon, this layered alpaca blend wrap is perfect for cool days and chilly evenings. The alpaca thrives at the imposing altitudes of the Andes Mountains, producing a luxurious lightweight wool that is exceptionally warm.

Buy it here.

Chic Handknit Cap

Iuliana Ionele designed this stylish beanie in a rich blue hue. The hat is knit of baby alpaca wool, renowned for its soft and lightweight warmth since it comes from the season’s first shear. The people of the Andes have preferred alpaca wool for centuries, often reserving it for special occasions.

Buy it here.

Handcrafted Jewellery Box

Shaped like an antique chest, a voluptuous jewelry box features polychrome motifs. The lavish designs are embossed on burnished leather. Oscar Pastor creates an enchanting jewelry box. Five drawers open with wrought iron pulls.

Buy it here.

Denim Hued Alpaca Throw

Crafted of 100% baby alpaca wool, this soft, comfortable throw blanket is designed by Peru’s Ines Vizquerra, who always enjoys collaborating with other artisans. The throw features a speckled pattern in indigo and eggshell, and is a homey addition to any living or bedroom.

Buy it here.

Folk Art Mask Collection

A charming addition to any home, this painted wood box opens to reveal handcrafted masks that represent those used during Carnival celebrations. They show an astonishing array of animals, human and fantasy faces, and were all handcrafted by Alejandro Chavez, who has displayed them in a traditional diorama, known as a retablo.

Buy it here.

Main image: Laura Grier for Novica. Child image: Pixabay

To help even further, please click here.

 



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