Maria Uyauri from Peru

Artisan Maria Uyauri

"When I got married, I found I needed to be able to do something outside the house. One day while talking with a friend and neighbor, I mentioned that I wanted to work. She belonged to a women's support group. I remember a German woman came to our group and helped us with design. Once she held a contest and let us choose any theme. I chose 'The Peruvian Jungle.' She liked it a lot and I won first prize.

"I was in this group for about ten years. When I first began, we had a lot of problems with materials. We'd bring old clothes and would create our patchwork wall hangings with them. I found it fascinating, but my husband said we wouldn't be able to do much as we didn't have a way of creating a good piece. One day, we women got together and I decided that with the little bit of money we each could contribute, we could buy bolts of fabric and spools of yarn and thread. With these materials, we created our first pieces to sell.

"But eventually we came to have a lot of different opinions in our group. This helped me realize that it was time to work by myself. By then, I had wings and could fly on my own. I wasn't afraid. I felt certain that I could get ahead and I did. Today my husband and son help me. I've taught them to help with the finishing of each piece."

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