Photo(s!) of the Week: PUCP’s Graphic Design Team tour Bandurria and Chotuna-Chornancap

By Solsiré Cusicanqui

Two weeks ago students from the Art Faculty at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú were working with the artisans of the projects sponsored by SPI: Chotuna-Chornancap (Lambayeque) and Bandurria (Lima). Thanks to the support of professors Carmen García, Isabel Hidalgo and Martín Razuri, the students were incorporated into classes working with local iconography, the creation of a brand and a graphic line that includes merchandising products. Artisans, archaeologists, professors and SPI members will eventually choose the winning proposal for each site. During the visit by students professors also organized talks surrounding innovation and the improvement of the quality of these products.

Within the classes the students were divided into two groups which visited the two project sites while aiming to collect information and create a tie with the local communities. The first group visited the Bandurria Archaeological Site where the students learned both the archaeological and social aspects of the project. After viewing the conditions in which the artisans live, they were interviewed with the president of the artisan group who explained to them part of the rush extraction process and the elaboration of products. Furthermore, they could watch one of the local ladies elaborating a “Rush Petate”.

 Bandurria (1) (1)

The rush extraction process utilised by local artisans is demonstrated to PUCP students during their visit to Bandurria.

Bandurria (3)

The students visit the monumental reminds at the Bandurria archaeological site.

The second group visited textile artisans at the Chotuna-Chornancap Archaeological Site who made a demonstration of the textile production process. This group was also interviewed with the archaeologist Carlos Wester, Director of the Brüning Museum, Director of the Chotuna-Chornancap Project and the person responsible for the artisans. The next day, they visited the archaeological site of Túcume and the artisan store, in which students could appreciate an example of the archaeological project which yielded designs for local art crafts.

 Students working with the weavers, Chotuna (1)

Students from PUCP are given a demonstration of the textile production process by artisan weavers at Chotuna-Chornancap.

Students at the Bruning Museum, Chotuna (1)

The students visit the Bruning Archaeological Museum.

Worth noting is that the Faculty of Graphic Design at PUCP has been supporting us since 2012 with San José de Moro artisans, most recently winning the 1st International “Turismo Cuida” award and which continues to develop serigraphy workshops in the region. Let’s hope this alliance endures in the future!

Students at the Archaeological site of Chotuna-Chornancap (1)


Catching Up With an Artisan

You may be familiar with Julio Ibarrola who was featured during our crowd-funding campaign in the Huffington Post. Well we’re catching up with him again to get some insight into what it’s like living in a community with a local SPI project site.

What was your community like before SPI’s project began?

“Before SPI, my community didn’t know a thing about pottery. They didn’t know anything about archaeology either and would only devote their time to farming and raising their livestock. My actual students were part of that but now some of them are even coming from outside the community.”

What was your relationship with your local cultural heritage site then?

“It was always around me but I didn’t really know about it, I didn’t relate to it. I thought they were just some Inca mounds, I had no idea there was a local culture I could relate to. When I was a kid I used to enjoy watching the looters do their thing around here, they caught my attention, back then I didn’t know they were destroying my heritage. It was the common thing to see in the 80’s, especially during drought season, farmers used to loot so they could get some money after selling the looted vessels to people who would only come for that. If the central area of San Jose de Moro got preserved it is because it used to be the soccer field.”

Tell us about the new artisan centre in your local community?

“It was the year of 1991 when the San Jose de Moro Archaeological Program started and changed my life. I got to work with them and they taught about what they were doing, their findings. Then it was Fredy Galvez, my teacher, the one who helped me perfect my skills on pottery production. Now I have this workshop and I devote all my time to it, I have become a little known, I feel like a professional and sometimes popular (he laughs). I have my own students and I can pass my knowledge and expertise but also respect for the heritage, an important thing to learn for the younger minds.”

Has your relationship with your local cultural heritage site changed since SPI has been involved with San Jose de Moro? 

“I think SPI has helped my community more than my own. Now, people protect and understand why it is important to do so. We all have learned and improved at different levels. A key thing SPI did was to get the community involved through workshops and others that people have happily attended.”

How do you see your community’s future?

“I view it favorably, here we all are thrilled by the idea of having a museum so tourists will come and we can show our products. The community is really looking forward to it and more than eager to get involved. I hope that someday I can pass my knowledge like I do now but at other sites. Also, I dream of the day when San Jose de Moro is world famous.”

“I want to take this as a chance to thank SPI, my teacher Fredy Galvez and SJM director: Dr. Castillo who introduced to me this wonderful world that archaeology is.”


Julio Ibarrola demonstrating one of his handcrafted Moche pieces in San Jose de Moro, Peru.

Thank You from SPI

Following the success of our recent People Not Stones 2013 crowd funding campaign, we would like to thank the following generous contributors. With your support, work is now under way to save the rich cultural heritage and empower the local communities of Bandurria and Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru.


Gerald Luterman

Meg Lambert

Daniel Sandweiss

Leslie Urdang

Jeffrey Junkermeier

Molly Stern

Michelle Young

Meagan Baco

Carla Silva

Teresa Lintner

Ari Caramanica

Chelsea Duran

Tamara Junkermeier

Bridget Siegel

Robert Mark

Nicola Savageau

Lace Thornberg

Julia Dye

Ana Escobedo

Nathaniel Van Valkenburg

Dougald O’Reilly

Christina Conlee

Greta Isac

Ulrike Green

Diane Englander

Jerry Blackwill

Alison Brower

Jonit Bookheim

Stephen Black

Emily Jackman

Taylor Krauss

Ruth Lewis

Rebekah Junkermeier

Hamish Berry

Cynthia Frederick

Dawn Kikel

Jane Stone

Gregory Urban

George R. Newall

Daniel Julien

Geoffrey Cunnar

Maria Bruno

Michelle Miller

Risa Goldstein

William Glaser

Peter M. Hosinski

Dana Delany

John Crary

Michael Dreibelbis

Brigitte Vosse

Thomas King

Astrid Hasse

Tanya Lervik

Jonathan Dubois

Lucas Kellett

Abby Lublin

Cliff Laughlin

Lawrence Pratt

Felice V. Hubbard

Jack Ho

Eric Schoenberg

Johanna Vanden Hoek

Robin Urdang

Max Meyer

Ralph Drybrough

Kamsheed Siyar

Peter Fagan

Peter Gallagher

Casey Hackney

Deborah Blom

Dany Santos

Willemina Wendrich

Nadia Papponi

Pampas Gramalote Gourds Now Available on NOVICA!

The day has arrived! You’ve been checking out our photos of the week featuring the carved gourds of local artisans at our project in Pampas Gramalote, Peru, and wishing you could get your hands on one. Now you can (without even leaving your office chair)! As promised in an earlier post, the artisanal gourds of SPI supported master artisan Ivan Cruz are now available online at NOVICA. In association with National Geographic, NOVICA is a new global platform for local artisans from around the globe to sell their artistic treasures.

Click here to peruse the gourds of Pampas Gramalote on NOVICA.

Stay tuned: the work of other SPI artisans to follow!

Photo of the Week

Excavated ceramics discovered at the archaeological site of San Jose de Moro, Peru!

Check out the most recent update on our project at San Jose de Moro that is both transforming the community and preserving its cultural heritage here.

SPI’s Artisanal Products Span the Globe!

An update from Solsire Cusicanqui, who leads our project at San Jose de Moro, Peru:

Last week, SPI and the company Tesoros (, led by Jonathan Williams and Kisla Jímenez, held a cocktail event to display the handcrafted products of San Jose de Moro’s artisans. The event brought together a diverse set of organizations, from The Field Museum in Chicago to Arcadia Homo to Poco a Poco Imports, among others.

Solsire Cusicanqui (far right) and representatives from various organizations take a look at replica ceramics made by local artisans in San Jose de Moro, Peru.

Representatives were greatly impressed by our artisans’ work, created in centers built with the help of SPI, finding both the work itself and what it supports appealing. While some lauded the fact that San Jose de Moro’s artisans work “with identity,” others noted the contribution the sale of such work makes: “By buying one of these products, you are not only helping the artisan, but also preserving the archaeological sites of Peru. This motivates us to work with them,” said Dawn Kikel of Arcadia Homo.

We’re looking forward to seeing the work of local artisans supported by SPI and its message of sustainable preservation continue to span the globe!