Monday, December 5, 2011

Arpilleras and My Grandson

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.
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Kelli said...

What an amazing project, and how cool to have a grandma like you to help him out with some good advice. I mean, how cool to have a random lady in the neighborhood to come to for advice. The random kid in the neighborhood did a stellar job. Thanks for sharing the info about that art form with us. :)

Arathi said...

I thought of quilting as a hobby or a home project.. But there are so many layers/depths to this... Like memory quilts and this arpillera revolution! I learn something new about this everyday.

Donna said...

Arathi, I learn something new every day, too. As Ryan was working on this project, I thought a bit about the African-American tradition of story quilts. Google that!

Z Any Mouse said...

How fun!

Arathi said...

Yes that's true Donna! This morning while I was shopping for fabric on the internet, I chanced upon the word "Amish" and I looked it up in wiki. Everyday we learn something new! :)