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Pia Zavala

Pia Zavala

5.0 (artist rating)

"I think what I like best about my work is seeing a design come to life in fleece. My greatest challenge in this art is to keep myself constantly changing."

"I was born March 26, 1956 in the city of Lima. Growing up, I lived with my parents, my sister and my maternal... grandparents, who knew how to combine responsibility with fun. During that time, I developed skills and hobbies I still have today. One of those was painting. I also liked to put puzzles together and decorate my room. I played with kids in the neighborhood, riding our bikes, going to the beach and more. But I think I had the best time learning to crochet with my grandmother.

"Crocheting attracts me because it's so motivating. I became interested in this art by accident. I designed my own clothes in fabric and I loved it. One day, with my friend Debora, I got the idea of designing and creating knitted apparel.

"We learned to knit and it was fun as well as a responsibility. We enthusiastically put together our first collection and invited our friends to see it. They bought our designs. Later on, we had to look for people to help us knit in order to keep up with the demand. I took knitting classes and I liked it a lot — it let me develop my own ideas. I learned even more from Marcelino, the first knitter who worked with me. He and I still work together today. He also taught his techniques to the new knitters in my workshop. Debora was my partner. Sadly, she passed away a few years ago and I'm carrying on with this project we created together.

"As time went by, I've focused on looking after the details related to knitting in our collections, and this is something I do instinctively. In winter, I work with Alpaboon, which is a blend of 50 percent alpaca, 5 percent wool and 45 percent acrylic. For my summer collections, I like viscose, which is manufactured from vegetable cellulose. These materials are easy to work with. I purchase quality materials locally, and do not use recycled materials.

"Inspiration can come at any moment. I could be listening to music or enjoying a quiet corner of my home when I begin to sketch new designs.

"My friends describe me as optimistic, fun and enterprising. I've been fortunate in that I don't believe I've had really difficult times in my life, although my father's illness and death marked me. I saw his strength and good humor and I was able to look at death differently. I decided to give the best of myself in those moments.

"I've had a lot of embarrassing experiences, as I'm a bit distracted. Several years ago, my husband surprised me with a trip to the beach and we took a commercial boat to go snorkeling. The guide stopped the boat and told us, 'Okay. The experts get off here.' My husband jumped into the water so I followed him. We were swimming and snorkeling for a while, when I looked for him — a man with grey hair in a yellow swimsuit. I swam up and took his hand, and we continued snorkeling, pointing out the brightly colored fish. After a while, we came to the surface and I realized that man was not my husband! Oh, no!

"My plans for the future include working, traveling with my children and sharing time with my family and friends. Of course I hope for good health.

"I think what I like best about my work is seeing a design come to life in fleece. My greatest challenge in this art is to keep myself constantly changing. It's been such a pleasant and satisfying personal experience, and one of the things that make my designs appreciated are the people who collaborate with me in my workshop. They are talented artisans who come here to grow like family as part of this workshop. And thanks to this work, I have the satisfaction of being able to help these artisans achieve a better life."
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