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How might we preserve the cultural textile heritage in Sucre, Bolivia?
Fair Trade, NGO

How might we preserve the cultural textile heritage in Sucre, Bolivia?

  • For/Year: Inca Pallay, Bolivia (2012)
  • AI/Tech: Offline
  • Design: Ethnographic Research & System Thinking

Inca Pallay in Surce, Bolivia

Cuentos textiles @Inca Pallay
For my thesis in product design at the HfG, the University of Arts and Design in Karlsruhe, Germany, I documented the work of the NGO "Inca Pallay" in Bolivia. The NGO provides the local heritage of weaving in the regions around Sucre, Bolivia. In cooperation with Inca Pallay, I wrote and illustrated a book focusing on Bolivian textile culture. It explains the weaving process, the daily life of the weavers, and the organizational development of Inca Pallay Bolivia.

Book about Inca Pallay (cultural heritage of the Yamparas & Jalq'as)

UX design
Obviously, this project is not a digital product. Some aspects are, however, very relevant to my work as a UX designer.

Yampara women

Ethnographical research
I conducted ethnographic research about the weavers and the history of textiles in the region around Surce, Bolivia. The NGO Inca Pallay, had a few development workers who helped the local team to documented the work of the weavers over the past years. I studied the literature of the region, went on field trips, and observed the weavers in their environment. They hosted me in their houses, and I learned what inspires them, and how they manage their side job weaving to their regular farming jobs.

Ethnographic research

Visual storytelling
I illustrated the processes of how the weaving technique works, from harvesting the wool to spinning, coloring, and weaving. Visual explanation is one of my key tasks in explaining people's processes and user workflows.

*Weaving loom

Icon design
I analyzed the weaving patterns; they are little pictograms that picture things of everyday life or short tales to entertain. This work is related to icon design, and visual storytelling.

Yampara design - Pujllay Tarabuco

Data visualization
In the very last pages, I added contextual framing about the history of Bolivia. During my work, I felt that without understanding the bigger picture, from the Spanish conquest to the current politics and the indigenous movement, it's hard to understand the poverty in the region. Therefore I designed some infographics, which are also very relevant to my current work.

Inforgraohic about demographics in Bolivia
Demographics de Bolivia

Product design
And as a product designer, I designed also some new products. The Bolivians got inspired by the Spanish conquistadors, this period influenced their traditional designs. They copied the uniform of the Spanish soldiers and designed similar outfits with different materials, such as leather. I did the same. I took the Bolivian designs and mice it with items from my environment. I designed a couple of things, this Cappy, the weaving loom, a bike helmet, a blues, and a backpack.

Cultual remix
Design training

In March 2012, I conducted a design workshop for the development aid workers from Interteam, a Swiss development organization. I trained the aid workers in how to use Adobe photoshop.

A special thanks to Fredy Vagas & Ines from Inca Pallay, & Fredy Hoffmann from the Interteam in Switzerland.