Maximo Laura Taboada
Master Weaver of Perú
Internationally renown and award winning fiber artist
¨National Living Human Treasure of Perú¨
born 1959, Ayacucho, Perú
I was first introduced to Maximo while on a Puchka Cultural Tour of Perú with my daughter, Mandy. This tour not only included archeological and cultural sites but also introduced us to various artisans who provided workshops. We were able to learn firsthand some of their craft under their patient tutelage.
These workshops included backstrap weaving, gourd carving, braiding, embroidery, knitting and weaving.
Maximo presented a weaving workshop. Both Mandy and I were enchanted with Maximo and his work from the very beginning. His manner is peaceful and unhurried; he puts you at ease immediately. He engages you with his smile and welcomes you into his world. He is eager to not only share his art with you but willingly shares his techniques. He graciously offers guidance as you work through your own work. His generosity is astounding.
He saw something in Mandy´s work and invited her to apprentice under him for a year. This was the beginning of a fabulously rich friendship and source of inspiration. Later, I was invited to spend a week weaving under his guidance in his workshop. Maximo and his family were so welcoming, we soon felt like we had been adopted into the family.
His tapestries are a mix of ancient culture and modern presentation. He is known for the use of vibrant colors, intricate designs and innovative textures. The first thing that struck me was his use of vibrant colors. They are stunning and jump out at you but also draw you in closer. Then you notice the textures. This is not just over and under weaving! Although it really is. It´s how he goes over and under and what he does in between. Then you look at the overall piece and see such richness of subject and culture. Oh, I could go on forever.
As I´ve developed as an artist over the last 10 years, Maximo has been an inspiration. The use of vibrant colors has perhaps been the biggest influence. I am no longer afraid of brilliance. Also, seeing the variety of textures he is able to create, has inspired me to look for ways of adding texture to my quilts. Adding some 3D elements was an idea that came from Maximo´s work.
Lately, I´ve admired his masks which makes me want to try a quilt that isn´t rectangular.
Puchka Perú Cutural Tours, www.puchkaperu.com