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NOVICA Artisan Eleodora Salvatierra

Eleodora Salvatierra

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My name is Eleodora Salvatierra Mitma and I was born in Cangallo-Cochapata province on 6 May, 1965. I have always felt like an artisan. Art is within us all, we just need to express it. We Peruvians have inherited this gift from our ancestors.

My work reflects my ideas and my feelings. It shows people our path through time, as well as the art and culture of the Peruvian people.

"I have been making arpilleria since I was in school. What motivates my work is the love I feel for my country, and a desire to show the rest of the world the beauty of our landscapes and our customs. Every colorful thread I use transmits the reality of my community and of my people.

"I have exhibited my work in several places and with great pride. I really started sewing arpilleria compositions out of necessity. We are eight sisters and my parents couldn't afford to put us through high school. Since I really wanted to continue my education, I began to clean houses. However, given the situation in the country and the terrorist movements, my employers left for the U.S.A and I was left with nothing.

"Some friends and I got together with the idea of sewing arpilleria for other people. Soon I was making the whole piece on my own, and that's when I realized it was to become my life. To this day I cannot walk away from arpilleria, it is my world. After a while, I started working on my own and I take refresher courses when I can to keep up to date, and to improve the quality of my work.

"I remember that when I was in school I used to knit dresses for my dolls. One day a teacher gave me many colorful threads, which made me very happy because I was able to keep on knitting. I was only eight years old at the time, but it is a fond memory I always carry with me. Later, arpilleria helped me finish high school.

"I am thankful that I learnt arpilleria, because it provides my family with an extra income, especially during the time when my husband was out of work. The first time I had children they were twins who were born prematurely. Their health was very delicate but with the sales of my work I was able to buy the medicine they needed. Thanks to God, my children are now 15 years old. My husband learnt how to embroider and now he is my best assistant!

"I have taught my art to many people, and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction that others can learn from my work.

"I would like to show my appreciation to all Novica customers who support our work. What every parent wishes for is to provide their children with a professional career, and that is what I wish for my four sons. I thank God for giving me this opportunity."