“Woven Arts of the Andes: The Fabric of a Culture” will be on view from July 28th through October 7th, 2012, at Central Sierra Arts Council’s downtown location: 193 S. Washington St. A reception for the public will be held on Saturday, July 28th, in the evening. Please join us.
It all began when a mountain lion attacked Joy and Sandy Severin’s llamas. Two of their beloved llamas were mauled. A devastating loss to the Severins, a true heartache. Then Joy and Sandy learned that a fellow by the name of George Caldwell might be able to help their surviving, but terrified and lonely, llama. And in a short time, a date was arranged: A llama date! George brought some of his llamas to Rancho Torales, the Severins’ ranch, for a llama “meet and greet.”
What the Severins didn’t know yet was this: George Caldwell is a llama expert with a glorious mission to rescue the ancient, but dying, llama culture of Peru. After more than 10 years of travel to South America, George has developed deep friendships, and over the years he has created a way to bring Peru’s Quechua weavings to interested Americans, who want to buy and collect these pieces.
As the Severin/Caldwell friendship grew, so did the stories of George’s dream and his many trips to Peru. Soon Joy and Sandy were not only mesmerized by tales of the great granite peaks, the ancient byways and the beautiful folk traditions, they soon felt their own desire to help swelling.
Whether it was luck, coincidence or fate, Joy was in a perfect position to put those desires into action. She had just been appointed as a new board member for Central Sierra Arts Council. Joy is an artist, and has a deep appreciation for folk art and its influence. And with help from Connie O’Connor, CSAC’s diligent and creative executive director, one night who should walk into the CSAC board meeting, but George, his wife Christine and TWO beautifully groomed llamas! Each one was wearing exquisitely woven textile pieces, created by Peruvian weavers. And in just a few weeks, the vision of “The Woven Arts of the Andes: The Fabric of a Culture” as one of CSAC’s special exhibitions was born.
Almost a year later, this amazing art exhibition is about to open. On July 27th the world can see an incredible display of beautifully woven Peruvian textiles, their story illustrated by photographs taken in Peru by Laurie Sylwester. Sylwester had the opportunity to travel to the Andes with George–Her second trip to this mysterious land, a trip that she carefully documented.
This Summer Central Sierra Arts Council invites you to experience the natural beauty of Peru, to sense the deep connections that Peru’s people have with their county, their mountains. We urge you to come and learn about the precarious future of The Llama Culture, as an ancient way of life struggles with encroaching and destructive modernity. With help from Caldwell, CSAC embarks on an incredible journey to the Southern Hemisphere. Please keep in touch as we let this rich story unfold…
And in the meantime, mark your calendar now for “The Woven Arts of the Andes: The Fabric of a Culture” opening July 28th, 2012, running through October 7th, 2012. A public reception will be held on Saturday, July 28th at Central Sierra Arts Council, currently located at 193 S. Washington St. For more information, call (209)532-2787. Come back for more details and PART II.
A VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO CENTRAL SIERRA SEASONS MAGAZINE, PUBLISHER DON HUKARI AND WRITER BONNIE MILLER FOR MUCH OF THE RESEARCH AND BACKGROUND FOUND IN THIS PIECE. ~ bz