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NOVICA Artisan Flowers of the Andes Association

Flowers of the Andes Association

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Our work is our passion. From the time we were children, we saw our parents, friends and neighbors creating exquisite craftwork and we wanted to do the same when we grew up.

"The association was born in Ayacucho on March 14, 2002. Our parents introduced us to handicrafts and we learned little by little, from them and from our colleagues, the grand masters of Ayacucho art. All our lives, we were taught to love our country and our culture. Two of us joined forces to form the association.

"But our work began a year earlier with a program designed to combat violence within the family. We saw so many mothers, most of them abandoned by their husbands, who had no source of income. We organized groups of married women to embroider canvas shoes that were sold in a number of stores, thus giving them work they could do at home. Then we added cushion covers and embroidery. Five different artisan associations came together to become this larger association, Flowers of the Andes.

"We have a traditional hot chocolate party each Christmas. This started years ago when a client came all the way from the north to have us embroider shoes for herself and her little daughter. They needed to go back the same day, so we hurried to be able to complete the job. When she got home, she sent us several boxes of panettones and this is what we served at that first get-together. We all look forward to these reunions.

"Our motivation comes from these mothers who collaborate with us and from their children. Our greatest challenge has been to offer our art outside of Peru.

"Through our work, we share our pride in our culture and how glad we are to live in this country. We have our economic challenges, but we love Peru and would never trade our homeland for another country. We want you to get to know our life in the Andes, and we manifest our culture through art.

"Thank you, Novica shoppers, for inviting us into your homes. We hope you appreciate our work – we do it with dedication and love."