Nestor Yana from Peru
is the artisan in the spotlight this week
Nestor Yana hails from the Puno region of the Peruvian highlands, renowned for good quality alpaca and sheep wool. He has been dedicated to the textile arts for more than 25 years -- it has been a family trade for generations.
Yana and his siblings learned the different weaving and knitting techniques from their parents. When he first began to weave, he worked on rustic looms, built by himself along with other family members. Together they sold their wares at local markets until eventually they were able to acquire modern machinery, which in turn allowed them to develop newer designs.
Yana designs and creates a variety of garments, including cloaks, sweaters and ponchos; each piece showcases the unique attributes of alpaca wool.
Alpaca wool is considered a luxury fiber because it is as soft as cashmere and has the luster of silk. It is as durable as wool, and the fleece is extraordinarily light and warm -- in fact it is reported that alpaca wool is five times warmer than sheep's wool!
The fashion industry considers alpaca wool to be one of the most exclusive of fibers. It is so versatile it is used in the creation of tweeds and fine gabardines. Alpaca fiber is naturally water resistant and wrinkles less than wool, which makes it ideal for travel. Compared to wool, alpaca fibers are stronger, resilient and of good elasticity.