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)

2 Sites, 42 Hours and $5,532 to go!

Our People Not Stones 2013 crowd funding campaign is now less than 48 hours from its conclusion!

Over the past week we’ve witnessed huge support for our cause to alleviate poverty in the communities of Bandurria, Peru and Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru as we broke the $40,000 mark! Throughout the past few days alone our campaign has been chosen among thousands of others to be featured on Team Indiegogo’s blog. The last week of our campaign also saw an article in the Huffington Post featuring the story of Julio Ibarrola, an entrepreneur from the town of SPI’s past project site San Jose de Moro, who has transformed his life from struggling campesino to flourishing artisan. Our goal with People Not Stones 2013 is to repeat this amazing result in Bandurria and Chotuna and empower a new community of entrepreneurs like Julio.

With less than 48 hours and less than $5,550 to reach our goal, please help us with the final push by contributing, sharing and spreading the word about People Not Stones 2013. Join us on our campaign page at midnight tomorrow, Tuesday 26th March to see how we have done and where we go from here!

Photo of the Week: Bandurria


Photo of the Week: Bandurria

This week’s photo glimpses a tour by SPI board members to Bandurria, the site of one of SPI’s latest projects beginning in 2013. Bandurria is home to four pyramids nearly 5,500 years old, the earliest monumental architecture of the Americas and excavations at this site have also revealed a cemetery that belonged to a complex society. 2013 will see SPI work to preserve the site and help to develop a community artisan and training center. SPI hopes to improve and maintain the local economy whilst preserving the cultural heritage of Bandurria for future generations.

Photo of the Week


Happy Holidays from SPI! Santa gourd ornaments designed and handmade by SPI-sponsored artisan Ivan Cruz in Pampas Gramalote, Peru. The sale of these (and all of the artisans’ handcrafted gourds) brings sustainable income to the community and helps preserve the endangered archaeological site at Pampas Gramalote.

Photo of the Week

7730597992_ee6d807c0d_cAncient monumental architecture at the archaeological site of Bandurria, Peru, site of one of two new SPI “People Not Stones” projects. By investing in local businesses in artisanal and touristic development, our project will create jobs, bring sustainable income to the community, AND preserve its cultural heritage.

Support SPI Local Artisans: Free Shipping on NOVICA Today and Tomorrow!

The holiday season has begun and it’s Artisan Monday on!

Today and tomorrow purchase the handcrafted ceramics and gourds of SPI-sponsored local artisans, Julio Ibarrola and the San Jose de Moro Association at San Jose de Moro, Peru, and Ivan Cruz and his trainees at Pampas Gramalote, Peru, and receive FREE SHIPPING!

SPI’s unique paradigm of economic development empowers poor communities by creating sustainable entrepreneurial business opportunties.  By investing in artisans like Julio and Ivan, whose local businesses depend on the preservation of their community’s archaeological site to attract visitors, SPI’s projects both generate sustainable income for the community and preserve precious cultural heritage for future generations.

It’s the perfect gift idea for family and friends: a gift that keeps on giving in a multitude of ways. Enjoy free shipping (and $7 or more off your purchase) of our artisans’ work on Novica today and tomorrow!


Photo of the Week

Finds from a recent discovery of an elite tomb built to be flooded periodically in ancient times in order to ensure the region’s agricultural fertility. Photo courtesy of Carlos Wester La Torre, Bruning National Archaeological Museum. Also used at:

Chotuna-Chornancap, Peru, one of SPI’s newest project sites, is a stunning 235-acre monumental temple and pyramid complex that spans nearly 1,500 years of history. Just this past August, archaeologists discovered a remarkable burial over 1,000 years old containing such precious items as pearl and shell beads and gold earspools amongst four corpses, the face of one covered with a copper sheet. Unlike any other tomb of a revered person in the region, this one was likely built by an ancient water cult and meant to be flooded periodically, perhaps as a means of ensuring the region’s agricultural fertility (see National Geographic article here).

The community living near the archaeological site of Chotuna, Peru, is very poor, with no electricity, sewer system, or even clean water. Our project empowers local entrepreneurs as it invests in local cotton textile artisans, constructing a facility for artisan training and production as well as a small picnic and sales area for their work near the archaeological site. The project will also build a store and showroom for these handicrafts in the Bruning National Archaeological Museum in the nearby city of Lambayeque, as well as guidebooks and brochures for the site.

This Black Friday, consider starting your holiday giving with a contribution to SPI! Help us transform lives and save the site of Chotuna-Chornancap by donating here.