Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The transformation of pasture into fleece

When I finished my Masters, I wanted to study with Penny Dransart at University of Wales, Lampeter. Obviously I went on to do other things (even though I still study humans and non-humans) and her work is still totally brilliant:

Earth, Water, Fleece and Fabric: An Ethnography and Archaeology of Andean Camelid Herding

"Through a richly detailed examination of the practices of spinning yarn from the fleece of llamas and alpacas, Earth, Water, Fleece and Fabric explores the relationship that herders of the present and of the past have maintained with their herd animals in the Andes. Dransart juxtaposes an ethnography of an Aymara herding community, based on more than ten years fieldwork in Isluga in the Chilean highlands, with archeological material from excavations in the Atacama Desert. Relevant historical evidence is adduced. This work investigates the material culture of pastoral communities at the transition from a hunting and gathering way of life over three thousand years ago, its relationship with the domestication process, and how spinning and weaving in contemporary Isluga express the values of a herding way of life. These values are intimately related to the perceived importance of the landscape with its resources of earth and water in the transformation of pasture into fleece. Impeccably researched, this book is the first systematic study to set the material culture of pastoral communities against an understanding of the long-term effects of herding practices. It offers original insights into understanding gender relations among the herders who establish the working relationships with their animals that enable them to produce yarns and fabrics, while also adopting a dynamic perspective on studying technical changes that have occurred in the textile production in the Andes."

Also: Kay Pacha: Cultivating Earth and Water in the Andes

Photo by Max xx

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