My grandson Ryan, a junior at Lyons Township, asked for help on his Spanish assignment. He needed to make an arpillera. A what? And he said slower and louder, an arpillera. He then explained that an arpillera is like a small quilt which makes a revolutionary statement. Arpilleras began in 1973 during the reign of the Chilean dictator Pinochet. Women created complex tapestries depicting the harsh conditions. And this movement has extended outside of Chile to other South and Central American countries. Ryan and his partner have to create an arpillera and do a 10-minutes speech/PowerPoint presentation about arpilleras in Columbia. It's due tomorrow.
I showed Ryan how to use double-sided fusible webbing (Steam-A-Seam) so that he could cut out the shapes of what he wanted, position them, and then iron them down. Part of the arpillera had to be 3-D, so he stuffed the clouds with cotton (Yes, this kid "invented" trapunto!!!) and made the banner drape. He also did his own binding by machine. (I have his permission to write this blog entry but not to "tag" him, which I understand. He then suggested that I refer to him as just a kid in my neighborhood - I think not...).
The artists who make arpilleras use their sewing as a powerful creative political tool and a catalyst for change. I'm glad Ryan had this assignment and to know about this art form.