I had an intense, challenging, educational, incredible time……
Maximo opened up his heart, his life, his work for a 3 week period, to us, five interns from 5 different countries, a full immersion and exposure to his art. He is a weaver and designer of an amazing body of work and his workshop puts out an incredible annual run of new and repeat designs.
We were surrounded with colour and light, tapestries full of rich imagery and texture, from our moment of waking to when we closed our eyes. There was work on virtually every wall space, from our bedrooms, dining and living rooms, hallways, the 3 loom rooms holding more than 20 looms, to the offices scattered through the 5 story building. In addition the main office had stacks of woven tapestries, loosely folded across their widths, waiting for the final finishing, cataloguing and photography, labeling and shipping to clients and galleries all over the world.
We were fully welcomed into his workshop and spent our days, and sometimes hours into the night as well, in the third floor loom room. Here we were guided through the weaving of a Maximo Laura design, one full square metre, learning how to manipulate colour, how to move through the weaving steps efficiently and how and where to put many of those textural elements seen in his work. Maximo and Jimi and Richar, the workshop assistants, coached us through a multiplicity of these textural techniques. They were exceedingly skillfull and patient and didn’t mind showing the same thing over and over again until our hands learned the moves. And it was awesome to be given demonstrations of their weaving ability; their speed and efficiency is truly inspiring, and something to strive for.
The highlights for me were:
- the intimacy allowed with a whole array of Maximo’s work. It is imbued with brilliant colour and light. And this expression of light, coming primarily through the choices and placement of colour, is what is so striking to me. I am hoping some of that sticks.
- the care and attention given to us by Tere, taking care of every need, so that all I had to do was weave. Normally my life is full of many different things that need to be done in one day, and having this time to devote nearly all waking moments to weaving was a great gift indeed. And the food was truly delicious as well as an introduction to Peruvian specialties.
- the getting to know, the hanging out with the 4 other interns. It was an incredible shared experience and the time spent together will live in my heart for a long while. I live in hope that our paths will cross again.
- I loved being part of a very active weaving workshop. There were weavers all around, sharing our third floor room, and on the floors above and below us. My day would begin with the cadence of the first loom to start up, usually around 6ish, and often also ended with loom music, some looms going late into the night. The weavers’ production, ability and control, and sheer efficiency and economy of movements were and are a strong inspiration.
And underlying it all are the colour magicians in the laboratorio, Vilma and her 2 assistants; it was a pleasure and a joy to watch them in their work as they chose, wound and sorted all of the colours and made the gradations that make these tapestries sing.
- and running through it all, within and without, Maximo’s incredible generosity of spirit, sharing all of it so openly, without reserve. And seeing every detail so worthy of his attention, his visible touch on all of it, from checking in regularly with all of his weavers, and the rest of the staff, to his personal cleanup of some of our workspaces and the retying on of the warps once our tapestries were cut off the looms.
- and finally, to make an already full life even more chock full, our one and a half day weekends were filled with museum and gallery visits, tours of Lima neighbourhoods, trips to the seaside, and to markets devoted to fruits and vegetables, fish and local art and craft.
An inspiring, unforgettable time.
Coby VanDerGaast from British Columbia, Canada
My experience at Maximo and Tere’s home and at the workshop was amazing.
Even though I have been a tapestry weaver for 25 years, I know there is
always more to learn, and I have to say that I think out of all the various
workshops I have done over the years, this was the most comprehensive,
exciting and fulfilling I have done in my weaving career.
I appreciated being welcomed into Maximo’s home, and for the hospitality
shown to me by him and Tere. I also appreciate their patience with my lack
I knew, before I went to Peru, that the internship would be worthwhile, and
my expectations were exceeded. I don’t think I’ve worked so hard in my
life, with the total immersion into tapestry and culture. I think we all
‘hit the wall’ at the end of the three weeks. We were running on
adrenaline, and when that ended, we all just ‘flopped’. We had a wonderful
time with Maximo’s family, which included Maximo’s (all night) birthday
celebration (Nadinne and Marisa also celebrated their birthdays during those
three weeks). It was full on. Every day was taken up by either weaving or
visiting galleries/museums. An overall cultural and working experience I
will never forget. Maximo, Jimi and Richar were wonderful tutors, even with
the lack of Spanish/English, the language of weaving is universal, and the
demonstrations of the techniques were accurate and easy to follow, though we
had to slow them down occasionally. I can’t get over how fast they weave –
I thought I was fast!
I also took the opportunity to visit Buenos Aires and Cusco/Macchupichu
before the workshop. I’m glad I did that beforehand – I don’t think I would
have had the energy to do it afterwards.
All the best
With turning 40 something inside me was pushing me to discover the artistic side of myself which I had never had time to resurface due to busy projects & work life. All this coming together and I decided not to postpone my Peru dream of many years but also a real one last year (I had a dream about colors where I was a color expert and I needed to come to find indigo which could be found only in peru :). It is also why I iimmediately chose the one tapestry with shades of blue inside. I am so happy I came to try something completely new to me and to learn tapestry as a beginner. Overall the workshop has been a wonderful experience. I feel so grateful of learning tapestry from the master Maximo Laura and his master weavers Jimmy and Richard. They all been so verryyy patient and helpful all the time (I had a nightmare knot which I kept doing in reverse and they kept repeating it until I got it 🙂 and of course Vilma the real color expert 🙂 I should say it was a crash course of tapestry plus a dive into the rich Peruvian culture with many different delicious meals by the lovely Tere (definitely a superwoman) + tropical fruits of all kinds+ music(thanks to 3 birthday parties with karaoke and dancing and of course pisco) + historic bits with museum visits + touristic places in Lima with Maximo’s lovely family. Above all I will always cherish the fun memories with everbody but especially the ‘chicas’ de Argentina, Canada, Chile and New Zealand. They were all so skillful throughout the intensive hours and so sharing about their cultures and lives. At the end the workshop finished with beautiful tapestries but also left so many good memories and everlasting friendships ❤ Ekin Eskin, Turkey
This internship did not only meet my expectations but totally surpassed them.
Maximo is an extraordinary human being and I have learned so much more than I could ever have imagined. It’s not just a weaving/tapestry Internship but it is also a window into Peruvian culture. You will be totally immersed in it as soon as you walk into the workshop and Tere, Maximo’s beautiful wife, will delight you with her delicious Peruvian cuisine.
This internship has literally changed my life and the path on which I’m about to embark. Being of Peruvian background myself but Australian born and raised, I feel so honoured to have had this opportunity to study and work with Maximo and his master weavers. The weaving techniques are totally unique to Maximo and the teachers are so patient and delight in helping you not once but all the time!!! You will learn Maximo’s techniques and also design, texture, gradients and colour. Be open minded because it will blow you away.
Language is no barrier at all and neither is the teaching, there are no secrets and you will leave hungry for more, fervently wanting to get back to practice what you have just learned.
It also happened to be my birthday whilst I was there and both Maximo and Tere and everyone else made me feel so special. Tere cooked my favourite Peruvian dish – seco de cabrito and we had Chicha & Inka Cola to boot. I was truly happy. The other students – 2 Australian women, one Chilean and one Argentinian – all had special gifts for me ranging from handmade to alpaca yarn, my favourite!!!
I have made life long friends thanks to this Internship and all the women who attended are totally incredible in their own right. We have all shared our contact information and my Australian friends and I are hoping to meet every two months to discuss techniques etc when we get back 🙂
The experience has been a profound one for me, not just in learning this beautiful art but emotionally as well.
I wake up missing the sounds of the looms the local music and the beautiful aroma of Tere’s kitchen.
Thank you for such an unforgettable experience xxxxx Carla Cassano-Ramirez, Australia
“Jan and I (and our large amount of luggage) all arrived back in Australia safely on Monday night, our time. We had a fabulous time, starting with the 4 day stay at the Casa Inca before the Internship began (wonderful accommodation and service, located close to beautiful coastal views, walking paths and shops). We travelled around Miraflores quite a bit, visiting three museums and the Michell yarn shop. We then had 3 glorious weeks staying with Maximo and Tere. Their hospitality was exceptional. They were so welcoming and worked tirelessly to make sure we had everything we needed. (I think they now need a good rest!) It was also great to meet the other three participants and exchange information about past weaving experience – and our experiences during the internship.
Maximo and the three master weavers he had appointed to help us, Jimmy, Hector and William, were all VERY helpful, patient and skilled. Nothing was too much trouble (even if it was the 5th time they had shown me the same thing!). They were extremely generous with respect to passing on their knowledge of the weaving techniques the studio uses and which were developed by Maximo, also their teacher. Nothing was “secret” or unteachable. It is rare to meet a true “Master” of an art or ancient craft, who is as humble and generous with their knowledge as Maximo is. It was a surreal experience to be sitting alongside him at a loom, working on a piece together.
I would recommend the internship to anyone. I think we were very lucky to have been able to have this experience!” – Sue Lindton, Australia
“I have been fortunate to have been a student in a recent Internship with Maximo Laura and his nephew, Master Weaver, Jimmy Laura.
I am from Scotland and will soon be turning 62; I am below average height at 4ft 9inches and I have some physical issues that mean I have to do things differently to other people….but the important thing is the end result…it matters not how one gets there and I certainly had all the help I needed to get to where I wanted to be during the Internship!
It didn’t take me long to understand that Maximo and Jimmy genuinely enjoy sharing their passion for the woven thread, their philosophy of work and their fabulous and very innovative techniques. They were very generous in teaching me as much as I could take in and were very kind and very patient, even when I made the same mistake time and time again…until suddenly it clicked and I understood. Once immersed in the weaving all I saw were the two Masters teaching me – their amazing skill, their vision, passion, dedication, discipline. I feel very honoured to have been part of this course, during which everything possible was done to assist me …even going so far as developing a new way for me to use the loom because of my small size …
I did make life more challenging for myself by insisting that I wanted to learn as many different techniques and textures as possible…and my goodness was I given that…even on my final day of the three weeks, Maximo was standing by my loom, explaining that there were many other techniques for me to learn one day. He sincerely enjoys sharing his knowledge and that generosity of spirit shines through everybody who lives and works with Maximo.
My many grateful thanks go to all at Taller Laura for making my visit unforgettable. Maximo’s wife, Teresa, keeps the whole engine rolling smoothly; she provides delicious meals three times a day and yes I now have to shed the kilos that have gathered around my waist!! But best of all is her smile, her eyes shine and she has a wonderful ready laugh that lifted my spirits when I thought the loom was going to defeat me. The three weeks of living, breathing, sleeping and eating weaving has opened new doors of knowledge for me. I would love to return one day and show Maximo and Jimmy how I have integrated techniques from “The School of Maximo Laura” into my own work.
For now I am excited and looking forward to getting a new warp on my loom and wrapping my fingers deep into the threads again.” – Polly Hoad, Scotland
I was very fortunate to be able to be involved in the 3 week Internship in the Lima studio of Maximo Laura. It was wonderfully run and we were so very well cared for as participants both in our weaving classes and in our daily lives. Maximo’s work is creative, innovative and inspiring. The classes reflect all of this and gave us the opportunity to experience it first hand. The subtlety of colour grading, the fascination of learning new and clever techniques while enjoying the excitement of a developing work gave us a very special time. Maximo was generous with his time and his information. Master weavers Jimmy, Hector and William were always by our side to teach, help and encourage us. Some of us were very slow, but our teachers were patient and positive. They are all excellent teachers. Thank you. Tere made sure that we were wonderfully well fed and that all our needs were looked after.
We had a many hours of weaving every day, and Maximo, Tere and Jimmy took us shopping and touring Lima on the weekends – we bought yarn, saw the sights, had lunch out and about and went to museums, as well as playing a traditional game called Sapo in the road in front of Taller Laura.
I am so appreciative of the rich, full experience of being in Maximo’s studio and staying in his family home. This has been one of the most special times of my life. Thank you. Jan Lowe, Australia
Many feelings are swirling in my mind and body as I reflect on my time in Lima and the internship with Maximo, the amazing Jimi and the wonderful chef Teresa who took such good care of me. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life. I feel I will ‘feed’ off the richness of it for years to come. It was great that there were other weavers there as well from other countries to share the experience with.
In the months before leaving I did not know what to expect and so put no real expectations in my mind. I think that was a good thing to do because nothing I have experienced before compared to what came to be.
I wouldn’t let the lack of Spanish stop any one from this amazing opportunity. It certainly didn’t stop me from learning all that I went there to learn and from having a wonderful time.
Thank you Maximo, the shaman of tapestry, Jimi the ever patient master of the loom and Teresa the artist in the kitchen and perfect hostess. I return home full to the brim with the richness of this incredible experience.
Oh and I loved the parties and dancing, the touring of fascinating Lima and shopping on the weekends. So much fun!!
The end of a beautiful journey and the beginning of a life changed and enlightened by beautiful people and all they shared so kindly with me. Lucky Me!!! – Dianne Kennedy Cruttenden, Canada
I lived in Maximo’s family home and was included as part of the family which was a wonderful experience in itself. Being in Maximo’s studio/workshop and learning from him and the enormously talented and patient master weaver, Hector, who gave me his undivided attention, was a truly wonderful experience. I learnt so much about tapestry weaving and about running a professional studio. I would thoroughly recommend this experience to anyone lucky enough to have the opportunity. I made many friends and would go back to Peru in a heartbeat! – Vicki Hoskins, Australia
When I first saw Maximo Laura’s work I was captivated, I needed to learn more about this powerful work. One of the gifts of my internship with Maximo was to be able to spend time with his tapestries and to see how the workshop process unfolds, each important step in the making of these amazing works of art. Maximo was a warm and generous teacher, not only guiding me through the process of seeing my design translate into a weaving, but also inspiring me further with new ideas. Jimmy wove by my side patiently teaching and monitoring my process. It was an experience I will never forget! I loved being in Peru with Maximo’s warm family, enjoying Teresa’s incredibly delicious meals, the holiday celebrations, visiting museums and festivals. I cannot wait to return! Dorothy Thursby, United States