“I am Isulina Luzmila Roque Rivera, and I was born in the beautiful Huantan District of Yauyos province. I consider myself an extroverted, creative, and strong-willed woman. Throughout my life, I have lived through many difficult situations. For example, when I could not find work when I was younger, I decided to save up some money in order to study. Thanks to God and to my family’s strength, I succeeded in dedicating myself to studying for a professional career in teaching at the National University of Education, where I discovered a vocation that I feel proud about.
“Another significant event that marked my life was my first day of teaching, when I felt useful to society. I also felt proud of having forged this noble career that impassions me in the area of textile arts that involves handlooms (backstrap, floor loom, stretcher loom, etc.). In addition, I am also involved in textile dyeing.
“I share my experiences in naturally-dyed fabrics at important educational institutions such as the National University of San Marcos and UNI (the National University of Engineering). I feel proud of being able to dedicate myself to this work. My plans are to conclude my post-grad career with a doctorate in Educational Sciences. My hope is to pass on everything I have learned, experienced, and investigated, as well as to be an open book. I hope that people remember me as an exemplary teacher, and that I will have realized my dreams as a professional and have served my society, homeland, and nation. I also dream that one day I will be able to teach this marvelous textile art abroad.
“My hope is that we will always be a very united family that fights together without resentment, without egoism, and with a lot of love. For now and always we will go on until our final days. My dream is that I am remembered as one of the most loved people on Earth. As a mother, my plans are, like all parents, for my daughter to be as much of a professional as she strives to be and that she is recognized for her dedication and care, and that she is a woman of strong character and temperament in the face of life’s challenges.
“I became interested in this art while seeking to understand the marvelous and mysterious nature of the textile arts of our ancestors originating from my sacred land, where the backstrap loom was disappearing. For this reason I have tried to rescue the craft and teach it. This textile art and all of the artisanal textiles attracted me with their style, their techniques, the challenges of how to make them or create them with natural yarns, as well as their dyes, resulting in amazing colors that last until this day. My wonderful teachers that I had in the university were people of my sacred land and of other places like Santiago de Chuco and Cuzco.
“Apart from my other work, I also teach in the association Awaq Warkuna (Weaver Women). Aside from being one of the founders, I am also an associate of this group, where I feel very proud to share what I have learned and experienced, as well as being part of a culture of social extension and progression in my community. I continue to investigate, study and discover new techniques and secrets of this textile art.
“There is something very important about this craft that I carry in my blood because, aside from being very good farmers, my parents were also very skilled artisans in the areas of textiles and ceramics. My father was a weaver on the telar de pedal (floor loom), and my mother spun and dyed the yarns. Regrettably, they were not able to teach me, because when I was young we had to emigrate to the capital, Lima, for family reasons. We settled there for several years. In order to achieve the mastery that I have, I had to study a lot, investigate, and travel to different parts of Peru, where the people dedicate themselves to the textile arts.
“What I like the most about this craft is that textiles can be woven on different types of looms with different techniques. What I find to be the most challenging is Ayacuchan weaving in the style of “Lauras,” which features designs with mystic inspirations, as well as the textiles of San Pedro de Cajas, whose designs feature people and landscapes with fluted yarns or tufts of combined yarns, which is a very impressive technique. My inspiration comes from representing our ethnic culture, iconography, mysticism, landscapes, as well as freeform designs that are accompanied by a combinations of colors.”