The Parche Makes the Craftsman and His Travels

Macramé threads and wires of different colors, whether silver copper or with some other metal, and precious stones, are just some of the materials that itinerant artisans use to make up their kit, called parche. Of course they also require tools—such as pliers and tongs, among others. The different colored stones, threads, and wires are said to transmit energy according to the person’s zodiac sign, their favorite color, or just their mood.

I spoke with a friend who is a craftsman on the Hatunrumiyoq Street where you find the Twelve Angled Stone He told me that he puts together his parche and then travels with it from one place to another. He said the parche makes the traveler. All of his creativity is reflected in his kit, all the colors, models of handicrafts come from the experience of the artists. You can see it in his creations, his bracelets, necklaces, chains, etc.

You can see his parche, it is a dark cloth on the ground on which he sets out his work to share it with the public. I noticed how the energy of the stones called the attention of passersby.

The colored stones shine, either set or woven into objects he has worked whether with thread or with wire. The artisan knows how to offer his work. He fills it with the story of where he got it, how it was that it came to him, and the place from which it comes.

Tandapata Street with Backpacker's and Their Parches (Walter Coraza Morveli)
Tandapata Street with Backpacker’s and Their Parches (Walter Coraza Morveli)

I asked him where he had traveled and if he went alone. He told me that he was traveling, mangueando we say, through Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Uruguay. “I travel alone. I feel like I am in the clouds but along the way I always meet or find new colleagues.

“While traveling you need to use fear as your motor and not as your break. The parches shows security wherever you go. With it you will always have something o offer for sale to the people of the place.”

He finished by telling me that to put together a parche one has to be obstinate. “You have to enjoy your work. There are no set hours nor set wages. You can make things while you sell or while you are resting.”

In Cusco the places where you can fill your eyes with these itinerant vendors and their intriguing parches are on the Marques, Santa Clara, Hatunrumiyoq, and Tandapata Streets. All of these are found in the colonial sector of the city. You might also find them in the Plaza San Francisco, Plazoleta de San Blas, Plaza de San Cristobal, etc. In any of these places you will find them with their parches on the ground by them. They come from many countries and get together in these arteries and squares of our city.

Stones for Sale by Backpackers to Pay for Their Journey (Hebert Huamani Jara)
Stones for Sale by Backpackers to Pay for Their Journey (Hebert Huamani Jara)

The artists who travel with their parches, whether male or female, have distinctive hair styles. They have long hair and often dreadlocks. They wear colorful clothes. Of course it all depends on the taste of the person. Those who come to our city of Cusco are often fascinated with the Andean colors and designs and, as a result, include them in their dress.

For an artisan, their parche is their best companion. With it they can check out the environment, its foots traffic, and find the different areas where they can sell their wares and find friends and colleagues.



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