Vamos Expeditions Adventure

Craftsmanship in Pisac in the Sacred Valley


Photos and text: Juna Cavens

When I visited the Sacred Valley I noticed that a lot of the local people make their money selling things they crafted them self. Local craftsmanship is very prominent all over the Valley. This contains pottery, weaving, wood design, instrument making and a lot more. The techniques that they use are passed on from generation to generation.


This very kind man José, showed me how he starts making something from a lump of clay on a pottery wheel in the small town of Pisac.

After a few minutes José very proudly showed me his finished cup. Then he explained to me what the following steps are to make sure it won’t break. First he lets his pottery dry in the sun, then he bakes it two times. The first time at 800 degrees and the second time at 1500 degrees.


José showing me the cup he had just made.

After he convinced me it would never break in my luggage I decided to buy one of his little vases. He was so nice that he offered to draw a kind of local bird on it for me. Afterwards he wrote his name under it and then glazed it to finish it.


José painting a bird and his name on the cup I had just bought.

While I was talking to José (I think I spent more than half an hour in his shop watching him very fascinated) I told him I saw a competition on the main square the previous day. They were also painting pottery and this reminded me of that. He told me he was there and that he won the competition. So I looked at my pictures from the day before and indeed, there he was on my picture painting along with all the other competitors.


The competition I saw the day before. (José in the upper right corner)

Next to the painting competition there was a weaving competition going on. A dozen women and men sat in two circles around a pole with their weaving. I asked one of the competitors how long it takes to finish one weaving. Apparently it takes up to ONE MONTH!! 😮

The patterns in the weavings and on the pottery symbolize stories of their surroundings and lives in the Sacred Valley.


Weaving competition at the market in Pisac.


Weaving competition at the market in Pisac.

I love the way these locals dress, all according to where they exactly live. They wear hats unique to their village and the patterns and colors of their clothes are distinctive to their home town. I think these people are so beautiful, even more when they smile!!


Smiling woman at the market in Pisac.

The next day I was walking at the market in Pisac. All the stands offer more or less the same things. But there was one stand different from the others. Two guys were standing behind it playing music, on instruments they made. Panpipes, and all kinds of other instruments I had never seen before. When I passed by they started to play louder, they even started dancing a little bit to make sure I wouldn’t pass by without noticing them. So I stopped and as soon as they say my camera they insisted on taking a picture of them.


Two guys posing with their instruments at the market of Pisac.

It is beautiful to see that everyone has their own talent and tries to use it. The only thing that keeps me wondering is how they can live from it?

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