In my studio I have a design inspiration wall. This is where I display some of the embroideries that I have collected over my years in textiles. This year I am going to share some of them with you

31cms x 41cms

The first is an Arpilleras which I purchased approximately 25 years ago, when we had a lecture about them at our local branch of the Embroiderers Guild. Arpilleras ( or cuadros ) are beautiful hand stitched, three dimensional appliqué pictures, depicting every day scenes and stories of Peru and Chile.

going to market
Feeding the llamas
walking with child

They originated in Chile. Many women had been left in a state of financial insecurity, due to high levels of unemployment and the ‘disappearances” of their husbands and children, during the Pinochet regime. The Chilean Catholic Church organised workshops, and then secretly sent the arpilleras abroad to provide a vital source of income to the women. They showed political scenes of repression and poor living conditions. Today they are produced in a number of cooperatives, and mainly show idealised scenes of rural life.

My arpilleras was made by Angelina Elera Vidarte, and she has added a pocket containing a note on the back. It shows a rural Andean scene with llamas and condors. The three dimensional figures are in typical Peruvian dress and are working at everyday tasks, looking after the llama, harvesting crops, going to the market and spinning. It is an exquisite piece of social stitching. The figures are only 5cms, and Angelina’s attention to detail is wonderful. I hope that I have the chance to visit Peru one day, it is certainly on my to visit list.


Have you any favourite textiles or embroideries?


Published by bevmayo6129

I am a textile tutor and artist specialising in patchwork & quilting.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: