Constantino Laura, or “Tino” as he is known by his loved ones and cherished collectors, began our conversation by sharing with me that while the tradition of weaving is part of his genetic makeup, he knows that his heart beats truest as a poet.
A weaver from Peru with a global reach, Constantino hails from the city of Ayacucho, which the Encyclopedia Britannica says has a “pleasant and invigorating climate.” I would attest to the notion that spending time with Ayacucho’s most prominent weaver is also a pleasant and invigorating experience.
His inspiration comes from books, history and Inca traditions. He sketches each piece in intricate detail and then gives it proper consideration. The initial selection of colors is crucial to the final design. The sketch is then painted and serves as a pattern for the weaving. His process is internal and spiritual. It is a lively conversation in his mind that happens naturally. Words mix with images, lines and curves, emotions and sentiment. The result is sometimes geometric, sometimes traditional and sometimes reminiscent of portraiture.
Constantino’s upbringing was a true celebration of the arts. Music, painting and poetry filled his childhood home and he doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t creating.
Two generations before him, Bolivian artisans who were following the South American trade routes were welcomed to Ayacucho and taught his grandfather this remarkable technique for weaving. In those simpler times, the exchange of every day products was the foundation of the local economy. His grandfather’s newly learned weaving techniques provided income and status, creating a patriarchal legacy.