“I am Adela Llanos. I was born in 1949 in Huasahuasi, located in the province of Tarma in the beautiful department of Junin, which is in the center of Peru. My childhood was filled with love, and I was fortunate in that my parents were dedicated to me. I worked with them from a young age. At around 5:00 in the morning, I would wake up to go to the countryside, where my parents worked very hard.
“Sometimes, while sitting in the shade of the patio of my house, I would watch my mother design embroidery. Imagine those beautiful, colorful blankets beneath the light of the sun. They went perfectly with the green and sky blue colors of Huasahuasi. I witnessed the birth of alpacas. I loved taking care of them, feeding them, and watching them grow when they were little. I loved feeling the smoothness of alpaca, and seeing the care and dedication that my parents gave through the entire process, all the way until the end, when they made their art.
“I have always been observant and collaborative, and over time I realized that I was learning something valuable: agriculture and handicrafts. I observed the beautiful legacy of my grandparents; I have inherited the best from my family.
“I lived through difficult times after leaving my parents’ house. I came to the city of Lima during an era of terrorism, but I worked to get ahead for my children. Ordinary jobs were not for me. One afternoon, I dreamed about when I lived in Tarma, and I remembered all of the art that my parents taught me, so I began to create handicrafts.
“Many people did not believe in me at first. Starting out requires us to protect our dreams in order to advance. It sounds cliché, but art is not something that you can do unless you carry art in your blood. This is the spirit of where we are from. In life, you need patience. Nothing is difficult if you have love and determination. It feels great to invent new designs for people, seeing how to create aesthetics and style, making use of your imagination without forgetting where you are from.
“People ask me how I got ahead. It is surprising for a lot of people that this can be done through the arts. I did it while also being a single mother and working very hard. With my history, I have been able to teach to help others get ahead. I seek out artisans like myself with this same spirit, and I have been able to ensure that people believe in themselves. They can create a future of enjoyable work, even at the international level. That’s where I want to end up. The challenge is when nobody believes in your dreams. You have to lose the fear that they won’t be fulfilled.”